Parshat Va'yeitzei - Lets dream a Little
Parshat Va'yeitzei – Lets Dream a little
Welcome to another exciting Parsha. As Rabbi Nachman said – the Parsha is about you and me. It Is Va’yetzei. Let’s learn and connect to what has kept the Jewish people alive and vibrant over the last 2000 years and is more relevant than ever.
So, what are the takeaways from the Life of Yaakov. Yaakov leaves Israel to an uncertain future. He would have to earn an livelihood, find a wife and start a family. We all know how the story pans out – hardships, challenges, building a Family.
But, Yaakov had a dream. What did Yaakov dream about? What do we dream about? Do we remember our dreams? Dreaming is quite important in the Torah – we have Joseph and his dreams So, what dreams can we have to overcome the struggles and challenges of Life? Do we have dreams of hope? We dream of a better life, a better world. A more meaningful life. A life of positive impact. In this poignant message of dreams, Reb
Shlomo expands on Dreams.
"Chassidishe Chaloimois" – Chassidic Dreams
Chassidim before going to sleep wish one another to dream "chassidishe chaloimois" – Chassidic dreams. Reb Shlomo ztz"l explained that one of the deepest aspects of the 'hisbodedus' practice that Rebbe Nachman ztz"l taught his followers, to regularly have private personal conversations with Hashem, is to get in touch with what Hashem was dreaming, when He dreamt of creating the world with you and me in it. Hashem what's it all about? Why am I here and what am I supposed to be doing here? I want to fulfill Your dream? If we don't get in touch with Hashem's dream, how will we ever know what we need to do? We need to dream beautiful inspiring dreams that will arouse us to joyously arise each morning and to realize that we are here building the House of Hashem, we are at the Gateway of Heaven. I wish everyone joyous and inspiring "chassidishe chaloimois"- may you live to actualize your highest and deepest dreams, together with all your loved ones and with all of Israel. Amen. Let us join with Yaakov Avinu, in his dreams of Hashem, Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael. He dreamt about us, you and I, let us not lose sight of that.
In the featured Video, Reb Shlomo in a niggun tells a story of a dream he had on Shabbat
MA’ARIV -Evening Prayer
He encountered the place. (Bereishis 28:11)
Ya’akov instituted the evening prayer. (Rashi)
The evening prayer has no set time, rather its time is the whole night. Likewise, our sages did not make it an obligatory prayer like the morning and afternoon prayers, rather it is optional (Rambam, Tefilla 1:6)
Avraham Avinu brought the morning down into the world, and in the morning you see a great light shining. Do you know when you have a taste of the day? Just before the day is over, at sunset, you taste the day. Yitzchak was on the level of taste. When he wanted Esav to prepare him a meal, Yitzchak said, “Va’aseh li mat’amim ka’asher ahavati,” Prepare for me tastes of food which I like. But you know friends, the night is something else. Do you know what the night is about? Fragrance.
When you see a person in the morning, you see their light. When you take a walk with your friends at sunset you taste their souls. But at night you are connected to a higher consciousness. And here I need you to open your hearts.
Fragrance has to do with the nose. Do you know what the nose is all about? The Zohar Hakadosh says that the nose is connected to the “life of life,” “chayei d’chayim.” The Gemara says (Yoma 85a) that a person is alive as long as his nose is breathing. Not his heart, but his nose. The heart is connected to life, but the nose is connected to “chayei d’chayim.” It’s connected to the roots of life, to the roots of my roots. It says that God breathed life into man, mamesh into man’s nose.
When you see someone at night, do you know what you see? When Ya’akov came in to get the blessings from his father, Yitzchak, it says, “Re’eh reyach bni” (Bereishis 27:27), Yitzchak saw the fragrance of his son. He saw the deepest depths of Ya’akov Avinu.
Therefore I want you to know something so strong. Consciously I can tell you to do this or don’t do that. I cannot tell you to do something unconscious. The prayer of Avraham is a must, and the prayer of Yitzchak is a must. We are obligated to pray the Morning Prayer and the Afternoon Prayer. But Ma’ariv is Reshus optional (X) If, God forbid, it was required, it would destroy the whole thing - because doing something that I am obligated to do can only touch our consciousness. And Ya’akov Avinu’s holiness was that he connected us to something deeper - to the level of the unconscious, the superconscious, serving of God.
It says about Ya’akov Avinu, “vayifga baMakom” (Bereishis 28:11) - he mamesh, so to speak “grabbed” God. Vayifga, he touched Him, he touched God.
When does a Yiddele bring Yerushalayim to the whole world? Very simple. It’s when someone asks you for a favor on that level where they are not really asking you for something specific, but they are touching you in deepest depth. They are touching your subconscious. So how can you say no?
The Aruch Hashulchan 235:9 writes that even though Ma’ariv was originally a Reshus, but since now we accepted it as an obligation the poskim don't even mention Reshus because today it is no different from Mincha and Shachris
Thank you Stuart Wax for sharing
Bread and Water
Moshe Rothkopt shared this beautiful insight
Reb Shlomo said”I never understood the significance of what Yakov meant when he asked for bread to eat and clothes to wear until he met a man who survived concentration camp and Siberia. In concentration camp he would trade whatever little clothes he had for a little bread to stay alive. In Siberia he would trade his food for clothes to stay alive. How he prayed that the food he had was for eating and the clothes he had was for wearing.
I would add that Thank God most us in 1st world Countries have what to eat. We probably do not really appreciate the Kindness of the gift that we have when we eat. Are we Mindful of this gift when we say a simple prayer before eating an Apple. Are we counscious of all the needed steps to plant and narture the tree , getting the Fruit to the store , the texture and taste that makes the Apple a day.
Pnd we are counscious of the world World wide poverty pandemic. This is the UN Number one goal of the Pandemic
"More than 700 million people, or 10 per cent of the world population, still live in extreme poverty today, struggling to fulfil the most basic needs like health, education, and access to water and sanitation, to name a few. The majority of people living on less than $1.90 a day live in sub-Saharan Africa. Worldwide, the poverty rate in rural areas is 17.2 per cent—more than three times higher than in urban areas#
Reb Shlomo Brodt z'l Pearls on the Parsha
Always expect change, until the ultimate geulah expect change and challenge. As long as you want to do something important and meaningful, something good with joy, expect obstacles and challenges, also from within yourself.
Yaakov Avinu is running to save his life, there is danger from behind and there is danger lying ahead. Away from his holy father Yitzchak and from his holy mother Rivkah, away from the yeshiva of Shem and Eiver, where he studied Torah and served Hashem, he will now have to face the world outside, pretty much on his own.
What will he do when he discovers the evil of his uncle Lavan? What will he do when he discovers how close by evil is to us and how close we are to it? Will he remain the same Yaakov – will he only seek to protect himself by running away from evil or will he face the challenges? Will he wrestle with the anfel-man? Will he be the escapist or the victor? Will he make a difference in the world? Will he build his family, the nation of Knesses Yisrael- the entire community of the souls of Israel?
Will he give us all the strength to become and to be Yisrael - to truly reflect Hashem’s true presence and light upon our faces, and illuminate this world?
Yaakov left home as Yaakov, but he came home as Yisrael. This is the legacy of our father, Yaakov Avinu: To know that it is Hashem who places in tight spots and presents us with all kinds of challenges. To know that the point of all these challenges is for Yaakov to become Yisrael.
Hashem promised Yaakov, “I will be with you and I will protect you on your entire journey. So long as you see yourself ‘on the journey’ and you will continue to move towards the ultimate holy destination- know that Hashem will be with you, that He will protect you. So long as you will strive to be a holy warrior maintaining your focus on all the good you are here to do; so long as, like a warrior, you know that no matter how much you have already done, there is so much more to do, so much more divine light to be brought into the world; and like a true warrior you do not retire from the battle and you give yourself over with joy, to the pain and the joy of living and growing in the challenge- Hashem is with you, Hashem is guarding you.
You will be Yisrael. You already are Yisrael, but you need to manifest yourself. The world continues to challenge you, continues to say that you are just Yaakov, that you do not have the rights to your G-d given homeland. Know then, that the only way you will fulfill your purpose in this world is by being Yisrael. Step by step, we all together must be the true and complete עם ישראל – Am Yisrael.
Like Yaakov Avinu we have been in ‘galut’- exile for a very long time, and many of us still are- and as long as we don’t have the Beit Hamikdash, we all are- may it be rebuilt quicklyt in our days.. May Hashem have compassion on all of us. B”H we have the opportunities to be here today in our holy land, Eretz Yisrael. Most of our ancestors were only able to dream about and pray over this. Yakkov Avinu is teaching us that we need to come home and be here as Yisrael! We need to reflect Hashem’s presence in the world. We have to admit and declare that Eretz Yisrael is the homeland of the Jewish People only because that is Hashem’s exclusive will. We have to be Yisrael בשמחה b’simcha – joyously.
Every one of us who has G-d forbid given up on achieving our dreams, Hashem’s dreams; every one of us who has been in the holiest of places in the world and did not pray there; every one of us who at the end of the day realizes how many precious moments and opportunities missed, ignored and did not even notice - we must not give up, we must go back to the holy place and really pray there. And when we sincerely wish to redeem all our lost opportunities, Hashem will, in wondrous ways, help us reconnect quickly. Amen.
The Meor Einayim explains that as soon as you leave Be’er Sheva, you are already in Charan, in the angry world, in the place of judgment. You must set your mind on returning. But first you must go through the challenges. Know that Hashem has contracted Himself so to speak, and is presenting himself to you in the obstacle, in the challenge in order to arouse you to rise to higher consciousness. As soon as you realize this as soon as you start to move closer to reconnecting with Hashem, the ‘supernal holy place, jumps and rushes towards you. The Talmud teaches: ‘More than the calf wants to suckle, the cow wants to nurse’. The supernal holy life energy yearns for man to welcome it and receive it into his being. But when man lacks the vessels to receive it, it gets contracted and hidden within the challenges and obstacles, to arouse man to return. And know that the Talmud teaches “one who comes to purify is assisted” (Yoma 38b).
May we all be blessed with much strength and courage to come home and be here in our holy land as the shining and joyous people Yisrael. Amen
Have a wonderful Shabbos
Jewish Survival Lessons from Yaakov Avinu – The First Jew Who Went Into Exile
Vayeitze Yaakov. Yaakov left home and went on a lengthy journey. Unfortunately, he had to leave Eretz Yisroel and go to Chutz La'aretz. This caused him much anxiety and loss of confidence. Not only was he pained by the fact that he had to leave home, he was also very fearful that he would be utterly alone in Chutz La'aretz, not only away from his family, but also away from being as close to Hashem as he was accustomed to being in Eretz Yisroel in the home of his saintly father and mother. In addition, he was feared that he might never be able to return back to Eretz Yisroel.
The Midrash says that Yaakov Avinu said to himself, "Whoa, can it be that I, chas v'sholom, should lose my faith in my Creator?! Chas v'sholom, I will not lose my faith in my Creator. Rather, he strengthened himself in his faith- 'עֶזְרִי, מֵעִם ה' עֹשֵׂה, שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ - ezri me'im Hashem oseih shamayim va'aretz - my help cometh from Hashem, Creator of heaven and earth (Tehillim 121).
Expounding on this Midrash, the Ba'al Shem Tov taught that when the Heavenly Court wants to bring retribution upon one who deserves such, they remove his level of bitachon (trust) from him. That is why he finds himself lacking in trust and confidence that Hashem will be close to him and take care of him. Therefore, it is appropriate and very necessary to always pray to Hashem Yisborach to be strengthened in our faith and trust in Him.
We can understand this on a number of levels. First and foremost, Eretz Yisroel is Eretz HaKodesh, the Holy Land, and every Jew needs to be in Eretz Yisroel. Only in Eretz Yisroel can we fully be who we are meant to be. Due to our long exile, many of us lack sensitivity to the holiness of Eretz Yisroel. This is understandable; yet, there must be something we can do about that.
The Ba'al Shem Tov is teaching us that this was Yaakov Avinu's great concern- what will be with my real inner identity in exile? He was concerned for himself, and for every single Jew who would be living in Galut/Exile. On a certain level, Yaakov Avinu had to experience being forced into exile, in a sense, to pre-experience it for us and to develop the consciousness and the keylim (tools) that each one of us needs in order to get back to Eretz Yisroel.
But what are we to do when we don't seem to have these necessary keylim (tools) to find our way back home? This is the importance of the above teaching of the Ba'al Shem Tov; pray before Hashem Yisborach to be strengthened in your trust that Hashem is taking care of you and is ready to help strengthen your confidence and trust (bitachon) in Him, and you will see that Hashem is with you.
On another level- one who is serving Hashem regularly finds that the level of avodat Hashem and faith in Hashem which was achieved yesterday is not sufficient for today. What was meaniongful and joyous yesterday might even feel like a burden on your shoulders today, G-d forbid. This is a kind of loss of faith. The same mitzvah that was spiritually liberating yesterday, is the same mitzvah today, even if you aren't finding as meaningful today. The mitzvah hasn't changed. It is I or you that have changed, we're not in the same place as yesterday, and our faith in finding Hashem's presence in doing the same mitzvah today is not as strong and is being challenged.
In a certain sense this is the meaning of 'vayeitze,' - he went out, is no longer there, Yaakov Avinu left the holiness of Eretz Yisroel and went into the darkness of Galut. Thus, what this Yid is experiencing at the moment is a kind of loss of faith. The important thing is to understand that this is not a permanent and definite loss of faith and meaning, after all, a Jew does believe in Hashem always. Nevertheless, this experience does feel like a loss of faith. The lesson that we're learning from Yaakov Avinu is that when this happens, and better still even before it happens, we should always pray to Hashem to be strengthened in our faith in Him.
May we all be blessed to be strong in our faith and trust in Hashem, and may we also be blessed to be wise and to know that we really do need to pray to be strengthened in our faith and that we really do need to pray to always be a Jew.
"Chassidishe Chaloimois" – Chassidic Dreams
Chassidim before going to sleep wish one another to dream "chassidishe chaloimois" – Chassidic dreams. Reb Shlomo ztz"l explained that one of the deepest aspects of the 'hisbodedus' practice that Rebbe Nachman ztz"l taught his followers, to regularly have private personal conversations with Hashem, is to get in touch with what Hashem was dreaming, when He dreamt of creating the world with you and me in it. Hashem what's it all about? Why am I here and what am I supposed to be doing here? I want to fulfill Your dream? If we don't get in touch with Hashem's dream, how will we ever know what we need to do? We need to dream beautiful inspiring dreams that will arouse us to joyously arise each morning and to realize that we are here building the House of Hashem, we are at the Gateway of Heaven. I wish everyone joyous and inspiring "chassidishe chaloimois"- may you live to actualize your highest and deepest dreams, together with all your loved ones and with all of Israel. Amen. Let us join with Yaakov Avinu, in his dreams of Hashem, Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael. He dreamt about us, you and I, let us not lose sight of that dream.
THE DREAM AND THE PROMISE
"Va'yeitzei Yaakov mi'Be-eir Sheva, va-yeileich Charanah."
On the last night before leaving Eretz Yisrael, Yaakov has a dream:
10. Yaakov went out from Be-eir Sheva, and he went to Charan. 11. He came upon the place and spent the night there because the sun had set. He took some of the stones of that place and arranged them around his head. 12. He dreamed: behold a ladder was set up on earth and the top of it reached toward heaven; and behold angels of Elokim were ascending and descending on it. 13. And behold Hashem stood above it [him], and said, "I Am Hashem, G-d of Abraham, your father, and G-d of Yitzchak. The land upon which you are lying, I will give to you and to your descendants. 14. Your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth. You shall spread to the west, to the east, to the north and to the south. Through you shall be blessed all the families of the earth, and through your descendants. 15. Behold I Am with you, and I will guard you wherever you go, and I will ring you back to this land. I will not forsake you until I have done that which I have spoken to you.
There is so much to learn in these few short verses. B"H this week we have the opportunity to learn a new teaching from Reb Shlomo and a very little bit from Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev zy"a. As we have learned in the past, this is the story of Yaakov Avinu, this is the story of each Jewish individual and of the Jewish people. This is the story of the soul of man that has to leave the beautiful, tranquil and Divinely illuminated supernal world from whence it came and navigate its way through this world to accomplish its goals and purpose- to fulfill Hashem's dream that we will make this lowest of worlds into His dwelling place.
Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev teaches that Yaakov Avinu was in touch with Hashem's dream and desire. He was conscious of all that was going to happen to the Jewish people. When the sun set, he encountered the darkness, the future division of the nation and the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, the anger that would overtake the world and all the suffering that would overcome his children, he also felt the pain of the Shechinah, for "I Am with him in his distress." And he no longer could maintain his 'dveikus'- he no longer was able to cleave to Hashem because of the great pain, and so he went to sleep there. He dreamt and in his dream Hashem restored his confidence and faith, making him aware that He was always there with him and that He would never leave him, until the 'great day' when the ultimate goal and purpose would be achieved. Hashem does not give up and neither do Yaakov and his descendants. And as Rashi explains, the many separate stones all joined together so that they would all be a part of the ultimate Redemption that was revealed to Yaakov in his dream. This dream of the ultimate Redemption was then affixed by Yaakov as the monument of the Jewish people. It is with this living dream and with this monument that the Jewish people have survived the lengthy exile thus far and will quickly in our days witness the coming of Moshiach, the reunification of Am Yisrael and all the nations of the world, and the rebuilding of the Temple.
YAAKOV’S DREAM AND MEDITATIONS
A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO at our Wed night parsha class I was asked two questions to which I had no answers. When teaching I actually appreciate being asked at least one question to which I will have to respond with "I do not know." The first question was about the significance of Yaakov Avinu's pouring of oil on the stone that he had erected as a monument; the second question was why does the Torah tell us that 'the place' which Yaakov named Beit-El, was originally known by the name 'Luz'?