Parsha Vayeitzei Yalkut Maamarei Emunah by Rabbi Gedalia Segal from Reb Asher Freund

Parsha Vayeitzei

Righteous Individual is the foundation of the world

Yaakov left Beer Sheva.  Rashi asks why does he say he left Beer Sheva and not went to Haran.  The reason is that when a righteous person leaves, it makes a commotion and everyone is talking about it.  Who did it really affect in Beer Sheva, were there Jewish people there who would feel the lack, that this righteous individual who left, did it impact on all the people in the Yeshivas in those days?  What was the impact of Yaakov’s leaving gentiles who worshipped idols?  What impact did it have that he left Beer Sheva and what did they lack when he left?

It also says he took the stones from the place and put it under his head and the stones fought and wanted the tzaddik to put his head on it. Hashem merged them into one stone.  What affect did it have for a stone that a righteous individual should put his head on the stone, what was it lacking.

A righteous individual is the foundation of the world. The world is created for a righteous individual.  He has the power to split rocks and even the animals in the forest fear a righteous person.

The people in Beer Sheva did not know how to value a righteous individual but when he left, they recognized that a righteous individual left and the beauty and the whole appearance of the city was not the same.  They felt the air was very heavy.  They felt like the holiness that was dwelling in the city was lacking. Even the rocks felt the soul of the righteous individual.  They felt when he left that the beauty and the absence of the appearance of the city was not the same, like a metal enveloped the city, and there was a heavy emptiness.  Even the stones felt that the soul of this righteous individual that is the foundation of the world, they also wanted the head of this righteous individual should be resting on them to give merit to their existence.  A person who has the image of Hashem on his face, the nations of the world will bow.  It says Your fear are on the animals of the world, the birds in the sky, the things that grow and even the rocks, everything is humbled in front of a person that has the image of the creator on his face.

Torah

Yaakov Aveinu went out of Beer Sheva and he went in the ways of the world and he knew that the Jewish nation would come from him and he had a fear that maybe he would get lost and mixed with other people that are lost. Until now he was sitting in the tents of Torah learning day and night and in the shadow of his father and mother and enveloped in holiness and purity and this way he was able to be much more pure than Esav, who was in evil ways.  But now, he is going out to the big world and it is full of idols and how could he withstand when the Soton is there and is trying to make him fall. 

He came to the idea that only Torah…it wasn’t enough the Torah that he learned until now.  He went to the Yeshiva of Shem B’ever and there he sat on the benches and learned Torah day and night.  He did not go to sleep at all, except for a few minutes. He pushed the sleep from his eyes and learn again.  For 14 years.  And then he went to Charan to establish his mission.

What shall we say now in our generation?  We have to learn from Yaakov that all we have to protect us is the Torah.  That is what we can learn, how important it is to get as much Torah as we can before we deal with the challenges of the world.

Hashem should be my Gd

A person should always ask that Hashem is with us, that if Hashem is with us we can withstand anything.  We don’t have the power to save ourselves.  When a person realizes we are nothing and cannot save ourselves from any mishaps or sins unless Hashem helps us and he realizes that Hashem’s soul is within us – this is what Yaakov realized.  That he cannot save himself. He saw Esav was trying to kill him and he ran away and then he saw from the yetzer hara there is no safe place.  From Esav he could run away but from the evil inclination there is no place to run because it comes with us.  That is why he davened.  I will return in peace to my father’s house. Rashi says he said it means he prayed to be free of sin and  if I can be free from sin that I did not learn from Lavan then I can say that it was because Hashem was with me. One person used to praise himself that he had a great wealth of gold that his uncle bequeathed him from Africa, on a high mountain.  So someone said you fool why are you praising yourself, this treasure is so far away it is not in your hand and what is it going to do for you?  So too if a person brings enthusiasm that he believes in the Creator, is He up in the heavens or is He in your heart.  Hashem has to be inside my heart.  When Yisroel Salanter said Shema, he saw that a person can really make Hashem the  king over the seven heavens and the four corners of the world.  No one thinks Hashem should be king on the small part in his heart.  Only that Hashem is in our heart was Yaakov able to overcome the challenge with Lavan, to be complete in his emunah and be pure and only with this could he establish the tribes of the Jewish nation and make a foundation for a holy nation.  We have to appeal to Hashem that He should watch us because He is within every person and we have to ask His Help to be free of sin.  That is what it means he asked Hashem to be my Gd, and if I am successful then I know you are with me because otherwise I could not stand it.

When we teach our children

A person has to try very hard when he teaches his children, he has to know that he has to pray that his children are successful in Torah.  Even before they come to the age where he actually teaches them, but also to watch the children from bad friends.  Bad friends can cause a weakness in emunah and keeping the mitzvahs.  Yaakov tried to establish the Jewish people to stay away from worshipping idols.  He purifies himself at Shem B’ever for 14 years.  That is a great foundation to be able to establish a holy nation.  Then when he leaves the beis medrash, he goes with prayer, that there should not be in his children any impurities, that they should be all holy.  That the holy divine presence should be with him.  After he learns Torah and davens, then he goes to bais Lavan, but who is going to protect them from Lavan?  He tried to keep away from developing a close relationship with Lavan, that he shouldn’t inspire his children to do the wrong thing.  He didn’t want Lavan to say you are my flesh and blood and so he tried to make a separation from him.  Even though he worked very hard with parnassa with the sheep, he tried to keep his children separate, that they should not be affected or get close to Lavan.  He made a distance between them and Lavan.  Three things, Torah as a foundation, prayer, and to stay away from bad influences.

Nature of someone who tries to fool people, dishonest, deceivers

Someone who is deceptive thinks that he is really fooling everyone else. He has one thing in his heart and mouth and they are not equal.  Someone who recognizes that he speaks evil and does evil, there is still hope for him that he might do teshuva. But someone who is deceptive is in a trap because he can’t really see himself, he doesn’t recognize he is doing something wrong.  So Lavan made Yaakov work so hard for Rochel and he gives him Leah, and Yaakov says you fooled me and Lavan says we give the older first, he doesn’t even recognize he did something wrong.  When Lavan told Yaakov Hashem blessed me because of you Lavan should have blessed him and sent him with great honor but that is not the way of someone deceptive, he tries to fool him more, not to send him with what is coming to him.  He fools himself and even his children recognized that he was treating them like strangers and not like children. The daughters did not want to recognize him as their father.  Bilaam was the grandson of Lavan and he also was in the same way  of deception.  He blesses Klal Yisrael with his mouth but curses with his heart.  Hashem changed it to blessing. That is the way of someone deceptive.  You should not want anything good from him.  That is the way to deal with someone deceptive.  You can’t have a relationship with such a person. 

Faith of Yaakov Aveinu

Yaakov says to Lavan that he does not want Lavan to give him anything. He worked very hard the whole day and night and did not sleep and he did not want wages.  He just wants to get from the hands of Hashem.  Like Noach said, like the dove said in the teiva, my food should be bitter from the hands of Hashem and not sweet from the hands of people   Because of this, the flocks of Yaakov grew greater.  People don’t think like this.  They think a person who is successful does it and someone who is not successful is a shlemazel who can’t do anything right.  When the children of Lavan saw that Yaakov was successful they said he took whatever was our father’s.  WE see the bitachon of Yaakov and Lavan.  Yaakov ran away and Lavan wanted to get him.  Why was it that Lavan could not catch up with him?  When Eliezer went to get Rivka the way got shorter.  Hashem wanted to show Yaakov that Lavan could not do anything to him.  Everything that is the good of evil people is bad by tsaddikim.  Only believe in Hashem that He is the one giving.  Anything coming from bad people is bad.  How could anything good happen unless it is from Hashem?  Hashem is giving it, not anyone else.

This is the bitachon that Yaakov had and this is the way we should all see.  It is not from our own creativity or wisdom, it is from what people don’t have, that Hashem did not want them to have it.

Prayer of Yaakov in the house of Lavan

We ask Hashem to save us from a bad friend or neighbor. Bad affects a person.  It could be that a person gets inspired by an evil person and his goodness turns over to evil.   A person has to run away from getting close to evil. What happens if a person is living in a place where there is evil?  What should he do to be saved? Thank Hashem for his soul, that he should be pure.  Yaakov Aveinu was by Lavan and had to raise his children and could not leave but as soon as he heard from the Melech of Hashem to leave, he left as soon as he could that minute.  It says Yaakov did not sleep all the years in the house of Lavan.  Is it possible for someone in the house of robbers to leave?  Every minute he was waiting to leave there. He was afraid Lavan would influence his children who were to be the holy nation of Israel. How could he sleep?  He said 15 shir hamalos that they said in the hall of the bais hamikdosh that the angels were singing and they saved his children from Lavan’s influence.  He sang Hashem save my soul from the lips of deception and lies, that through these influences of Lavan.  Hashem I should please leave as I came, with the Gd of my father, for without that I would leave with an empty defective soul.  That is the prayer Yaakov prayed all the time, to leave in peace with his household. He was so afraid to be influenced by Lavan.

Living by the way of Torah

The way to live a Torah life is to keep the mitzvahs and stay away from aveiras.  Do what Torah tells us and don’t do what is forbidden for then a Jew is not a Jew.  That is still not enough for a life of Torah.  It means that every corner of a person’s life, a person has to search for the light of Torah to light it up.  How can you explain it?  Let’s say every behavior we find, it has to have a root in the Torah.  Rabbi Akiva said he likes these people that when they make a decision they go out into the field. This way when they are talking about an issue, the people who don’t need to hear it don’t hear it because only those people in the field hear it and are involved but no one else does.  We can see this is a good idea, what Rabbi Akiva said, but later on, how is this possible that this is a good behavior if it is not in the Torah?  We have to find it in the Torah.  That is the only way we know it is good.  So in the Torah it says Yaakov called Rochel and Leah to the field.  Yaakov convened with Rochel and Leah and told him he is leaving bais Lavan .  He went to the field so Lavan’s sons would not know about it and try to stop it.  So now we see that this type of behavior is brought down in the Torah and we know this is a good way to behave.  Rabbi Akiva’s intent is that to live a life of Torah is that anything big or small we have to find it is brought down by the Torah.  Sometimes we think this is a good way but if we don’t find a proof in the Torah it is nothing for us. The Torah is our lifeline, our instruction booklet, in every behavior that we do we should find a source for it in the Torah.  It is everything. If we don’t find a source in the Torah we cannot say it is a good behavior.

Pure faith

The ideal of faith is only for the Jewish Nation.  The gentiles believe in Gd but they don’t really know the same belief.  They think the people in the land can do what they want to do, one is above and the other below.  Lavan said it is possible for me to harm, you, I have the power and ability in my hand but Hashem told me not to do good or bad.  But the Jewish people say we are dust and ashes, nothing, a worm and not a man.  That is faith in Hashem.  The true faith is that there is nothing in the world other than Hashem and no place is empty of Him, the spirit of Hashem is in every person and thing, there is only hashem in the world. That faith is the faith of the Jewish people.  Great people of the nation of Israel say we are dust and ashes.  Hashem’s spirit is in us.

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