Shabbat Parashat Vayishlach| 5764
Vayishlach | | 10/01/2003
Our parasha dedicates an entire perek to the genealogy of Eisav’s family, the Kingdom of Edom. It would seem that the descendants of the gentle, tent-dwelling brother should have little interest in the kings of the descendants of the hunter and man of the field. Yet throughout our history, it has proven impossible to ignore the entanglement between the two nations of Yisrael and Edom.
A room connected to a beit k’nesset and beit midrash was used for some time to store geniza (writings containing names of Hashem or other forms of holiness). The gabbaim wanted to convert that area into a bathroom for use of those who frequent the building. Is that permitted?
The first Rashi in the Torah explains why the Torah started with the creation of the world and not with the first mitzva given to Bnei Yisrael. The answer is, of course, that Hashem wanted to convey that, as Creator of the world, it was up to Him to decide to whom to give Eretz Yisrael at each point during history. Yet it seems that this idea does not answer the question completely. Why is it necessary to continue, after conveying the message of creation, to describe the highlights of human history until the time that the mitzvot were given?
I do editing work for papers that are being presented for acceptance by scholarly publications. I am trying to work out a system for charging which is fair both for my clients and for me. The problem is that it is very difficult to anticipate how long a given paper will take to edit. I think that the most equitable system is to charge by the hour, but most clients demand to know a fixed rate in advance. So, I usually charge according to a system I have developed for estimates. However, sometimes I receive significantly less than I deserve, because the work was more difficult than anticipated, while other times, the opposite is true. I feel bad taking more than I deserve, but if I return money when I came out ahead and don’t ask for more when I estimate to my detriment, I’ll be losing out. What should I do?
This edition of Hemdat Yamim is
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).