ב"ה

Parshah Columnists for Vayetze

Guest Columnists
What Does Jacob’s Ladder Symbolize?
A Timeless Metaphor
Jacob’s simple ladder foreshadows the trajectory of human development.
Why Good People Do Good Things
When we move beyond living in a transactional world, when there is no social or self-serving benefit to our actions, we are acting from a feeling of empathy that recognizes our larger sense of connection.
Why Leah Named Her Son Judah
When we understand that everything is a gift, then we escape the trap of an entitlement mentality.
Angels
I met them in my car. There were maybe 10,000 or so of them hovering about. Some looked like Walt Disney cartoon angels, others were straight out of store window displays or greeting cards. Some looked like the plaster angels I used to buy in a Mexican market.
Love at First Sight: Five Biblical Examples
In five instances, the Torah describes the phenomenon of love at first sight: in the love of Adam for Eve, of Rebecca for Isaac, of Jacob for Rachel, of David for Abigail, and of David for Bathsheba. These five, in their historical order, are descending examples of how the intensity of love at first sight can be focused into mature, rooted love
The Contributing Factor
Fulfilling Our Potential as Creative Women
A woman must cultivate a relationship with her Creator and use her mind to its fullest capacity. Only then, asserts the Akeidat Yitzchak, can a woman fulfill her second role as Chava, 'mother of all life', a role which crowns the role of isha.
Singing Despite the Blues
Jacob was in a difficult moment in his life. He, himself would have been the first to admit it, but he refused to get depressed or lose hope...
The Strength of Jacob
Does Judaism truly have something to say about every aspect of our life, or are the rabbis who claim to have an opinion on everything simply intrusive and controlling? Should rabbis just stick to teaching Torah?
Why Jews Feel the Need to Nosh
A Lesson From Parshat Vayeitzei
I know what she wants; she wants me to nurse her, she wants me to kiss her and comfort her...It's like her way of "checking in" to make sure that I'm still there and that I love her...
Huff, Puff and Stuff
Jacob, the quintessential scholar, finds a "permanent home" with the birth of Zebulun, the archetypal businessman. Such is the reality in a Divinely ordered universe, where some things refuse to rhyme but everything has a reason
A Lesson From Grandpa Laban
Laban was truly family! Yet, his anti-Semitism was legendary. In other words, attempts to break down the walls between Jews and non-Jews by assimilating and intermarrying will not fix anti-Semitism.
What Do We Do About the Relationship Crisis?
Genuine love not only respects the individuality of the other, but actually seeks to cultivate it. Love, like the act of creation, is the courageous act of creating space for the presence of the other.
Stay in Your Lane!
Every child has his or her own way, their personal journey. The role of an educator is to figure out how to travel alongside children as they discover the world around them.
Love or Children?
The loving relationship and the child-rearing partnership highlight two human aspects that relate to the essence of the connection between a man and a woman.
Is Sibling Rivalry Ever a Healthy Thing?
Envy is a grievous sin. It’s on the top ten list engraved on Moses’s stone tablets. And yet even envy can assume a form that is healthy and holy. (“Parsha Perks” with Dr Michael Chighel | Veyetze)
When Jacob Discovered He Was Israel
An Essay on Vayeitzei
Far from home, Jacob now must struggle to maintain his inner spirituality.
The Answer Is "No." Would You Like to Know Now or Later?
Living in your imagination is highly seductive. It’s also pointless.
If Jacob saw that Leah was the one with the blessing of children, why did that not command more of his attention?
The Reason Isaac Went Blind
Isaac had attained such a lofty nature that his body was a loyal agent of his soul.
Don’t Get Stuck Like an Elephant!
When someone tells you, “You can’t,” don’t listen to them. Be like Jacob and say, “Who said? Watch me—I will!”
Torah Insights
The Thanksgiving Jew
Why are all Jews called by the name of just one of the tribes, Judah? What is it about thanksgiving that captures the essence of the Children of Israel?
Jacob's Ladder
No matter where he might be, no matter how foreign the environment might seem, he was capable of erecting a ladder that would connect heaven and earth, he was able to build a bridge that would allow the epitome of holiness to affect even the most distant of places.
Covenant & Conversation
When the “I” is Silent
Prayer makes a difference to the world – but how it does so is mysterious.
Out of the Depths
What did Jacob add to the Jewish experience?
How the Light Gets In
We are defined for all time as the descendants of Jacob, the children of Israel. Hence the force of the question: Why Jacob?
Laban the Anti-Semite
Laban begins by seeming like a friend. He offers Jacob refuge when he is in flight from Esau, who has vowed to kill him. Yet it turns out that his behaviour is less generous than self-interested and calculating.
Encountering G-d
There is an element of the religious life that is beyond conscious control. It comes out of nowhere, when we are least expecting it.
Light in Dark Times
What is it that made Jacob—not Abraham or Isaac or Moses—the true father of the Jewish people?
Love Is Not Enough
You cannot build a family, let alone a society, on love alone. For that you need justice also.
Weekly Sermonette
A Ladder to Heaven
Why would angels use a ladder to ascend to heaven? Don't they have wings?
The Pressure Principle
The olive yields its best oil when pulverized. As our physiotherapists tell us (with such compassion that I want to hit them!), “No pain, no gain” . . .
Feeling Stuck?
“In the circumstances I currently find myself . . .” the philosophy student began. Whereupon the Rebbe interrupted him: “No one ‘finds himself’ in circumstances. We create our own circumstances.”
Where Heaven and Earth Meet
Jacob's ladder, like Sinai, characterizes that which is firmly embedded in earthliness, but can reach the heavens.
Life's Passages
Can You Really Protect Your Child?
Vayeitzei
As much as we want to protect ourselves and our children from the ravages of our world, it is precisely here that each of us fulfills the purpose for which our world was created.
Rachel and Leah: Two Destinies, Two Worlds
Vayeitzei
What is the mystery of the spiritual qualities represented by these two sisters? What was the secret cosmic schism that would span centuries of history?
How Does the Onset of Winter Make You Feel?
Vayeitzei
Each struggle that we confront and every small victory that we win become the sweetest and most beautiful offerings in G‑d’s eyes.
For Friday Night
Joining Worlds
The dream of the ladder in our Parshah is something that has captivated people’s imaginations for thousands of years . . .
The Sleep of Jacob
Jacob's sleep was an amazing event. In the words of the Sages, G-d "folded up the whole of the Land of Israel and placed it under Jacob, in order that it should be easy for his descendants to conquer..."
Torah Study in this World
We are taught that Jacob embodied the quality of Torah study; yet the Torah recounts at length how much of his time was taken up by business dealings raising his family
Keeping One's Balance
The relationship of the individual with other people often demands a special skill: keeping one's balance. There are my needs and the needs of others. There are personal points of stringency; and there are universal imperatives. This point is brought out in the discussion by the Sages of an intriguing feature of this week's Parshah...
Dealing with the World
The border between Jacob and Laban is seen as the divide between the sacred and the profane. This distinction is important. One has to know clearly what represents the Jewish dimension of holiness, and what does not.
A Thought for the Week
Marry Two Sisters?
How could Jacob marry two sisters? How can one reconcile their own needs and personal improvement with assisting others with their improvement and needs? A timely lesson from this weeks Torah portion.
Parshah Moment
My Son the Doctor
Parents want to provide their children with that what the parents grew up without. Perhaps a greater accomplishment would be to provide their children with that what the parent took for granted...
What the Rebbe Taught Me
A Sound Business Plan
This is the same courageous Jacob who was willing to stand up to murderous Esau and claim the blessings that were rightfully his. Even he was afraid to venture into uncharted grounds of immorality and sin; he hesitated at the thought of raising a family in a religious and ethical danger zone...
Living through the Parshah
Why Jacob Loved Rachel
. . . but why he had to marry also Leah
Leah’s soul stemmed from the world of thought; Rachel’s, from the world of speech. Leah was introspective, a master of meditation. Rachel was a communicator, charismatic and appealing.
What Do You Think?
Can G-d Be Stolen?
The very fact that one can steal an idol shows the pettiness of ascribing supernatural powers to figures of stone and metal.
Aleph-Bet Before Alphabet
Sociologists would surely have predicted that Jacob would rear confused children who would grow up with a deep hatred toward the “archaic,” “burdensome” values of their ancestors.
Parshah Messages
Acting G-d's Part
The angels scurrying up and down Jacob's ladder teach us a valuable lesson about Divine providence.
Laban's Opinion on Jewish Education
Jacob was the prototypical white-bearded Jew from the "old country." Laban was a worldly man and a crafty businessman. And Laban had some take-it-from-the-expert advice for his son-in-law
The Pauper's Prayer
The rich person prays for even more wealth. What does the poor person pray for?
Inner Stream
Why G-d Listens to Rachel
All day, I couldn’t shake the haunting image of a child, shaken from sleep, startled out of complacency, crying instinctively for his mother.
The Night Belongs to Jacob
When evening falls, we sense the mortality of the human condition; we realize that daylight and warmth don't last forever. The morning's optimism and the afternoon's momentum give way to the night's brooding despair. Enter Jacob with his gift of Truth...
Parshah Musings
Leaving Home
Angels on the Road
In own journey through life there is a constant interplay between staying faithful to one's past and remaining open to new experiences...
Why I Bought a Home
Is life a journey or a destination? Is this a process or a product? How can I live my current life to the fullest, while holding out hope that this is nothing but a temporary assignment?
Seeing Miracles
Ultimately, the only true driver of success is G‑d, and businessmen are perhaps best placed to recognize this truth.
Comment
Sleep On It
For the entire fourteen years that Jacob was secluded in the study house of Eber, he did not lie down. Nor did he lay himself to sleep for the 20 years he labored over Laban's sheep. In between, he spent one night at the holiest place on earth -- "and he lay down in that place" (Genesis 28:11). What is the deeper significance of that single horizontal night in 34 vertical years?
Climbing the Ladder
According to the ancient mystics, all actions of man -- indeed all workings of creation -- derive from two general forces: love and awe. More specifically, there is "lower awe", "lower love", "higher love", and "higher awe" -- in that order
Somewhere Between Spirituality and Religion
There is truth
Is it a self-improvement thing, like a woodworking class or a therapy session? Is it a duty, like obeying the law of the land and going to work in the morning?
How Pious Should You Be?
"You're holy, but you stink!" That's what the village children would yell at the bechor (first-born animal) who would often be seen wandering about the shtetel...
Seeking the Other
One would think that after all that Rachel had gone through in the last 14 years, there’d be at least a moment of contentment. Isn’t it strange to name your firstborn child “I want another son”?
Gangs of Angels
A famous saying by Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov goes: "The physical life of a Jew is a spiritual thing." Sounds great, but what does it mean?
Parshah Recovery
Rising Above Circumstance
If G‑d really wants us to do His will, it's natural for us to wonder why He doesn't make it easier for us. If He expects us to have impeccable standards, why doesn't he remove all temptation from our path?
Beyond Speech
Jacob's Ladder and Why We Suffer
Why is important to tell us all these details, a whole Torah portion of Jacob's difficulties?
On the Haftarah: The Dove Always Finds Its Way Home
For the Haftarah of Vayetze, From the Teachings of the Rebbe
There are two types of exile. The first is an exile of plenty. Then there is the exile of suffering, in which we feel stuck, unable to get out and do the simplest of things.
The Freeman Files
Jacob's Journey
Your Universe and Your Mission
Whether you know of it or not, there is always a purpose—and a very specific purpose—to whatever enters your world at the time that it enters.
Business Transformation
The first question the heavenly court asks upon your return home: “Did you do business with integrity?” For that is when you truly fixed up this world.
Working Lessons
All the world is a classroom. Each thing you must do is a lesson.
Synergy
Your work and your time for study, contemplation and prayer need one another.
Worldly Occupation
Every penny you make is manna from heaven.
Financial Planning
Determine how much you need. Create a vessel to receive it. Pray for rain.
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