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Shabbat Parashat Vayishlach 5783

Parashat Hashavua: Not Leaving the Fathers by Themselves

Harav Shaul Yisraeli from Siach Shaul pp. 106-7

[These words are part of an address, within a rabbinical conference held at K’far Haroeh in 5705 (1944), commemorating the Yeshiva of Volozhin.]

With a trembling of happiness and pain, we open this conference with the words of Yaakov Avinu from this week’s parasha – “I am small in relation to all of the kindnesses … now I make up two encampments” (Bereishit 32:11). The small group of members who came to a barren location and started weeding out the wild grass did not dream that in such a small amount of time, this place would turn into a center to which people look. We are now two encampments – an agricultural village and a yeshiva.

However, we remember the factor that brought this whole group here [to commemorate], for there has not passed a special amount of time from the close of Volozhin. What is new is that until now, the continuation of Volozhin was living in the form of various yeshivot in Israel and in the Diaspora. But now, when we are missing all of those yeshivot (in the midst of the Holocaust), we feel a need to recall and eternalize the memory of that great house, which gave us so much.

We read in the parasha: “Yaakov was left alone, and a man struggled with him until the break of dawn” (ibid. 25). On the verge of entering Eretz Yisrael, there was an unavoidable encounter between opposing forces, Yaakov and Eisav. As much as Yaakov tried to avoid it, taking a circuitous route and side roads, the time of the meeting came. The encounter was between the tzaddik, who was always ready to compromise and allowed himself to be pushed to the side, and between the haughty rasha, who acted with spite and animosity. The struggle was necessary for both of them, as only through it did the angel of Eisav arrive at the goal of his life: “Let me go, for dawn has broken,” which Chazal say meant that this was the first time that he was called to sing praises to Hashem (Chulin 91b). Similarly, it is only at this encounter that Yaakov Avinu received his name, which our nation has adopted, Yisrael. In Hashem’s secret world plan, there is a task for evil to perform, with all of its disgustingness and haughtiness, to agitate goodness and turn it into a fighter, even a vengeance-seeking power, brazen in its opposition to evil.

It is so tragic that specifically at this critical moment in time, for which Yaakov was preparing his whole life, after having trained his sons, and especially his closest son, Yosef the Tzaddik, who was uniquely empowered to fight the negative spiritual side of Eisav, that Yaakov was left alone without the help of his children. He was involved in retrieving small vessels that were left behind. On the one hand, the righteous can be proud of their material possessions, as they are all things that were obtained without theft (Psikta Zutrata 32:33), but they are still things that look trivial at a moment of eternal importance. Indeed, that is why Yaakov had to come out of this encounter limping.

In regard to the competition between powerful forces at the era leading up to the coming of Mashiach, the intention of the Yeshiva of Volozhin was to prepare the forces for this critical time. Its goal was to strengthen the young generation so that the old generation would not have to stand alone in its struggle against evil. Rather, the sons would also be able to add their part to the battle.

 

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Dedication

We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
Arye Yitzchak ben Geula Miriam

Neta bat Malka

Meira bat Esther
Yerachmiel ben Zlotta Rivka

Together with all cholei Yisrael

Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

to the memory of:

Those who fell in wars

for our homeland

 

R' Yisrael Aharoni z"l

Kislev 14, 5773

 

Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar 10, 5771


Rav
Reuven & Chaya Leah Aberman z"l
Tishrei 9
,5776 / Tishrei 20, 5782

 

Mr. Shmuel & Esther Shemesh z"l

Sivan 17 / Av 20

 

Mr. Moshe Wasserzug z"l

Tishrei 20 ,5781

 

R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8 ,5776

 

Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat RMoshe Zev a”h.

Tamuz 10 ,5774

 

Rav Asher & Susan Wasserteil z"l
Kislev 9 / Elul 5780

R' Meir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l

&

Mrs. Sara Brachfeld z"l

Tevet 16 ,5780

 

R 'Yaakov ben Abraham & Aisha

and

Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l

 

Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13, 5778

 

Rav Benzion Grossman z"l
Tamuz 23, 5777

 

R' Abraham Klein z"l

Iyar 18 ,5779

&

Mrs. Gita Klein z"l

Av 4

 

Rav Moshe Zvi (Milton) Polin z"l
Tammuz 19, 5778

 

R' Yitzchak Zev Tarshansky z"l

Adar 28, 5781

 

Nina Moinester z"l

Nechama Osna bat Yitzhak Aharon & Doba

Av 30, 5781

 

Rabbi Dr. Jerry Hochbaum z"l

Adar II 17, 5782

 

Mrs. Julia Koschitzky z"l

Adar II 18, 5782

 

Mrs. Leah Meyer z"l

Nisan 27, 5782

 

R. Yona Avraham ben Shmuel Storfer z”l
19 Kislev
 

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Les z"l  & Ethel Sutker
of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker
& Louis and Lillian Klein z”l

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