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From the Chassidic Masters

The Three Lives of Jacob
The three periods in Jacob’s life—Hebron, Haran and Egypt—as guideposts through three modes of living: how to exploit transcendent “moments of truth,” how to exhilarate in struggle, and how to exist under subjugation.
Jacob and Rachel
Intrinsic to our nature is a perpetual striving for self-improvement. But no less basic to our being is the capacity for receptiveness and sacrifice, the conviction that there is no greater greatness than the abnegation of self to a higher end. These are the “Jacob” and “Rachel” within every man and woman.
The Secret
Our sages tell us that "Jacob wished to reveal to his sons the end of days, whereupon the divine presence departed from him." Why, indeed, would Jacob wish to do such a thing? If the children of Israel had been told that the date of Moshiach's coming is thousands of years in the future, would this not have had a most adverse effect on their morale?
Life, Death and Reality
"Our father Jacob did not die," said Rabbi Yochanan. Asked Rabbi Yitzchak: "Was it for no reason that the eulogizers eulogized, the embalmers embalmed, and the buriers buried?"
The Beheading of Esau
The deeper significance of the course of events which led to the burial of “Esau’s head in the bosom of Isaac.”
The Human Story in Twelve Words
If we take the names of the twelve Torah sections (“Parshahs”) of the book of Genesis, and read them in succession as a sort of shorthand or code, we get a synoptic account of the human story: the purpose of our creation, the soul’s transformation from a wholly spiritual entity to a physical human being, the manner in which we develop our self and environment, and the ultimate realization of our mission in life.
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