Length: 56 minutes
In the first aliyah of Parshas Vayeitzei, Yaakov is on the run from his home. Even though Yaakov was leaving Eretz Yisrael, he was not subject to the curse of the earth. He knew that Hashem is there, all of the way, anywhere- therefore, he was able to expand outside of Eretz Yisrael. In Eretz Yisrael, it is easier to see the connection with Hashem. Yaakov shows us that even in golus (exile), it is possible to bring Hashem’s presence down to this earth.
Length: 59 minutes
In the second aliyah of Parshas Vayeitzei, Yaakov meets Rachel for the first time. At this meeting, Yaakov does a few things that seem to be out of character. His actions were completely pure, with none of the lust or passion of this world. Yaakov’s portion is Olam Habah (the World to Come), and Rachel links him to the physical world, encouraging him to bring the spirituality to this world. Yaakov cries at their meeting, because the world misunderstood the purity of his intentions.
Length: 56 minutes
In the third aliyah of Parshas Vayeitzei, Yaakov marries both Rachel and Leah. Originally, Yaakov only wanted to marry one wife, and build Klal Yisroel entirely through Rachel. However, when he ended up marrying both Leah and Rachel, due to the tremendous sacrifice on the part of Rachel, conflict was introduced into the building of the Jewish nation. There are different elements that Leah and Rachel each brought into the marriage. Lavan wanted to undermine their togetherness as sisters, but it was only because of their original connection and core commitment that the situation developed as it did.
Length: 57 minutes
In the fourth aliyah of Parshas Vayeitzei, Rachel and Leah have the exchange with the dudaim, the flowers that Reuven brought to Leah. With this exchange, they clarified their most important goals and desires: Rachel’s desire to have a child with Yaakov, and Leah’s desire to be closer to her husband. When Lavan arranged that Yaakov would marry both Leah and Rachel, he introduced tension and division into the Jewish people. Our strength comes through our unity and togetherness, and Lavan sought to undermine this core.
Length: 41 minutes
We continue our studies in the Gur Aryeh, the commentary of the Maharal on Rashi.
Length: 39 minutes
Rosh Chodesh is a special holiday for women, because they were not involved in the sin of the golden calf. This sin is what brought the Jewish people down from a high level, where each home would have been sanctified with kedusha, and we would not have needed a central mikdash. Rosh Chodesh is a holiday amidst the regular days of the week, representing the holiness that does not stand out as a separate entity. Women have a special ability to make the home a place of kedusha at all points in the year, outside of the framework of a shul and of holidays.
In this series, we explore the parsha of Bereishis in depth. There are many powerful, important lessons that we learn from the first parsha in the Torah, about the creation of the world, man, and the sin of Adam and Chava.
Shabbos Shuva 5778 Robert Coles is a professor emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard who taught classes on morality. In a classic essay titled “The Disparity Between Intellect and Character”, he begins as follows: Over 150 years ago, Ralph Waldo Emerson gave a lecture at...read more
Yom Kippur 5778 – Kol Nidrei I want to read to you a letter, a letter that tells an amazing story. The letter was personal, but made such an impression upon its recipient that he had it published in the Baltimore Jewish Times of April 27,1945. Sidney Cohn - uncle of...read more
Yom Kippur 5778 – Yizkor Six weeks ago, I traveled to Atlanta to give a talk commemorating the yahrzeit of an old friend who passed away very suddenly, in his 50’s, a man named Moishe Esral. What was most striking about the experience was the clarity I received from...read more
Yom Kippur 5778, Neilah The Talmud (TB Berachos 5b) tells a story about how during Rabbi Eliezer’s final illness Rav Yochanan came to visit him. Rav Yochanan was a strikingly beautiful person, who literally lit up the room. But in the light, Rav Yochanan saw that...read more
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