Monday, November 26, 2012

A lesson from this week's parsha Vayishlach

The Torah is an eternal document of truth. We see in this weeks's portion how Ya'acov Aveinu deals with a very difficult situation and from it we learn what is important in dealing with our own challenges.
Ya'acov prepares himself in a number of ways for this encounter where he faces potential death by the hand of his twin brother, his own family. His brother, from whom he supposedly 'stole' the birth right which was his by right as it was Ya'acov who was meant to be the first born but Eisav pushed ahead of him.
Not one word or phrase is wasted in Torah. The phrase 'belila' is repeated three times first in perek you'd dalet, chaf beit and chaf gimmel.
Ya'acov has to make a three fold emotional adjustment in order to deal with this very challenging situation. He deals with it on three levels, but first let's look at the thee elements of the situation. There is fear, fight and prayer. He is very fearful because it is his own brother he is confronting.  His brother who has sworn to kill him once their father has died and is no longer around to be grieved by the conflict between the two brothers. How does he deal with the fear, but through gifts and an approach of loving kindness. He is submissive on one level and in his instructions to his servants who go ahead, he tells them, when you encounter my brother Eisav and he questions you tell him,'We belong to your servant Ya'acov. This is a gift sent to my master, to Eisav, and - look - he comes after us. Ya'acov instructed all the groups, the second and the third to speak to Eisav in this manner and all the groups after them.
He appeases, but not just appeasement is his goal. He has in his heart love and kindness - goodwill but he also knows his brother's character and who he is so he prepares himself to fight. He understands the treachery in his brother only too well. he prepares to save his family and divides his camp by sending his family and possessions across the Yabok River. Tragically he hides Dinah in a chest to save her from Eisav and later she is raped by Shem. She does have potentially, the power to transform Eisav to allow him to realise his righteous qualities and to fulfil them.
It is said that the fact Ya'acov does not allow this meeting to take place, results in her rape later and the destruction of a city of people.
So he prepares his family and household for battle first by dividing them into two camps. He does this during that night when he gets up. He is no fool and also understands that in order to succeed and live a wholesoome life in this physical world he must strengthen himself spiritually. He gains insight and part of his preparation for war is spiritual preparation and reliance on Hashem and Hashem's ultimate compassion and mercy. He is afraid. While he has ultimate trust in Hashem as the one truth and one judge of us all, as one who fulfils all promises he looks to himself and he sees himself as small, perhaps unworthy of Hashem's promise to be saved. He thinks 'maybe I have become soiled with sin?' How can a tad dim who has not sinned think thus? A perfect tzaddik, one who is pious does not dwell in one place but constantly grows spiritually and moves from one level to the next. He sets higher and higher spiritual goals which means that which happened before can be viewed as 'sins' or aveirot - metaphorically.
So what can we learn from this? When faced with challenging situations, we must not operate on a simple level of understanding and dealing with them, but a multi faceted approach is needed. We need to have a basic approach of loving kindness, understanding and compassion, but prepare for war and take measures to protect our family from attack and to pray to Hashem with heartfelt fervour for mercy and spiritual strength to do the right thing and to be strong and have trust that the outcome will be the best for us and right.
Rashi is troubled by the fact that Ya'acov first appears to make his own preparations before appealing
to Hashem in prayer and concludes that the preparations were part of his appeal to G-D in prayer. Prayer - heart felt prayer whether in good times or challenging times, Simchat or tzarot we have to turn our thoughts to the Cretor for guidance. A bride and groom fast on their wedding day and say tehillim and are in a state of absolute purity for this momentous time in their lives where they go from one state of existence to another, like true tzaddikim. They do not remain static, they grow and move from one level to the next phrase in their lives where they become even closer to Hashem with the potential to create new life both for themselves and for the future. The sacredness and holiness of this day is for both participants contained in the holiness and sanctity of the union they are about to enter, both awe inspiring and a state of complete joy in being partners with G-D in creation.
That is something that two men or two women cannot and never will replicate.


Rhischmi said...

in regards to the last sentence- who the fuck cares? Get over it.

epiphanygreen said...

this is just basically gibbersih. agree about the last statement - wtf? get over it. and while you're at it, learn to spell.

Ilana Leeds said...

Charming. You certainly would NEVER make a good teacher. If there are spelling mistakes sweetness, the appropriate thing to do would be to point them. Yes, I sometimes do make typos or errors. I actually can spell and I do SMELL a rat. There are no spelling mistakes. Perhaps you want to get into Parliament and become a politician.
I do suggest you also check out how to punctuate and also some of the finer points of grammar. Your manners, well, your parents failed abysmally there, didn't they? You poor thing, when you have something intelligent to write, I'll be happy to correspond with you or anyone else who has even half a brain. Unfortunately your brain is a total dead. You do yourself a disservice. Maybe you are on drugs? However, that is your problem, not mine. Go away and come back when you have grown up a bit.

Ilana Leeds said...

Just one last thing. I actually thought that was a headstone on your little comment. I was tempted to feel sorry for you and say 'poor little troll, is that the tombstone of your intelligence and intellectual powers?' However, I am a lovely kind person and would not be so cruel.

Ilana Leeds said...

Comment re brain that should be 'total dead loss.' My brain works a lot faster than my fingers can type. Not like some I know. I could give you some lessons in clear thinking.
@ Rhischmi I am used to teaching illiterates not corresponding with them. Bye...