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Shabbat Parashat Vayeitzei 5777

Ein Ayah: Sharing a Big Event with a Big Group

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:283)

Gemara: [After all these events, Rabbi Shimon said:] since a miracle occurred, let me institute something helpful, as the pasuk says, “Yaakov came in a complete manner” (Bereishit 33:18, after being saved from Eisav - Rashi). Rav said [about this pasuk]: complete in his body; complete in his wealth; complete in his Torah.


Sharing a Big Event with a Big Group

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:283)

Ein Ayah
One should always recognize the greatness of the community. This finds expression in that major events in his life will have greater significance if he can connect them to something that links the event to the community.

Therefore, if someone is saved in a special way that has a major impact on his life, he should not limit his reaction only to the people around him. As the event is momentous, it should be seen as connected to something big. That is done by doing something that is of use to many people. That is why Rabbi Shimon looked to institute something useful.


Avoiding Conflict between Different Successes

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:284)


Ein Ayah: When one matter of fulfillment emerges from another such matter, there is a natural expectation that the former turns into an independent entity to the extent that it infringes on the latter. As a point in case, when the body is developed, it brings with it a need for money to sustain it. At the end, the pursuit of money itself pushes away the pursuit of a healthy body. That is because one’s imagination leads him to the wrong impression that money is an independent value. As a result its pursuit can put a person under such stress that it weakens him.

Both a healthy body and a strong financial situation can be good foundations for a good spiritual level, which includes the ability to focus on Torah with a developed mind and an ethical state. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon for each of these elements to act as an enemy of the other. Ethics can flounder when one does not sufficiently understand the desire to strengthen the body and expand one’s society, which is built on the presence of enough resources for life’s necessities.

Yaakov Avinu’s central goal was to show all that there is no element of completeness, whether the lofty or the corporal, that does not contribute to the whole when it is understood well. Certainly, they need not contradict each other. That is why Hashem blessed him with success so that he arrived in a complete manner, in body and in money. The two together aided him to have the internal goodness of being complete in his Torah. This was a great demonstration of how, using a path of justice and truth, all the positive levels can join together. Completeness in one area ruins completeness in a different area only when one lacks understanding of the value and purpose of each.

“Not like these is the portion of Yaakov, for He is the Creator of all, and Israel is the tribe of His portion; Hashem, Lord of Hosts is His Name” (Yirmiya 10:16). Hashem created so many types of celestial beings in His world, and they all do His wishes. From the joining together of all goodness, the broadest truth, which is a completely unblemished nature, is grasped. “Yaakov was an unblemished man, who sat in tents” (Bereishit 25:27). He looked with an eye of generosity and love on every element of goodness that he saw.    

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