Parsha’s Many Lessons
I want to speak about Rachel. Please bear with me, for we have limited time
and a lot of ground to cover until we reach our final destination.
is a sad irony that when the threats from the WGA (Writers Guild of America)
first exploded in the news, and pollsters came out with surveys which
reported that about 75% of the country will use their newly found free time
to actually read books, and then, when the strike turned into a reality, the
one man who has been raucously decrying America’s “Couch-Potatoism”
in the last century (or two) and hoping for the novel, the book, to
be rediscovered, Norman Mailer, dies.
that is far from the only ironic death this week. Let us slowly build up to
the other one;
Parsha is, to use the words of Rabbi Uzeal Milevsky Z”L, where heaven and
we can expand on this further;
G-d’s whispering to man, is found in three separate occasions in this
week’s Parsha, 1-To Yaakov in revealing his being the final leg of the
tripod that supports Klal Yisroel, 2-again to Yaakov, when he is explained
how to defeat Lavan through the manipulation of the flocks, 3- to Lavan
himself, when he is told not to cause any harm to Yaakov.
to this we find rocks/stones - the essence of the physical world, raw carbon
- appearing in no less then three separate incidents 1-uniting under Yaakov
head while protecting him from wild beasts, 2- being used as a (reserved)
Matzeiva, 3-as the symbol of the peace treaty finally made between Lavan and
and Lavan were playing the roles of con artist and charlatan (at least for
Yaakov it was only a temporary and permitted role), one for good and one for
bad; one vindicated and one dejected. Indeed, Yaakov, as the Talmud teaches,
calmed Rachel’s fears of Lavan tricking him into marrying anyone but her
by exclaiming, “Ani Achai B’Ramoess/I am his brother in shrewdness”.
that when these two, at last, let trickery rest and have a sincere dialogue,
Yaakov utters a truth to his father-in-law, a certainty that turns out to be
false,- Nobody stole your Teraphim…- and, after all of Yaakov’s permissible
and unpunished lies, it is this mistaken deception
that kills his beloved wife Rachel, for she never revealed this to him.
would appear that a lack of dialogue is a common problem in Sefer
Bareishis, whether it is between Rivka and Yizchak (see Emek Davar, end of
Chayay Sarah, see also Ramban 27:7 where he proves that Rivka never told
Yitzchak about the sale of the first born thus causing a need for the
operation that was then planned); Yoseph and his brothers; or, here, in
Rachel not disclosing to her husband what she had stolen.
this is not the only occurrence of Rachel keeping things private in this
a surprising exchange, Leah, frustrated that Rachel was trying to get the
Dudaim, exclaimed, “Is it not enough that you took my husband…!”
Leah was not fully aware of how Rachel gave Yaakov over to her, apparently
performing the eternal Chesed of disclosing the Simanim/signs in a
surreptitious manner that would not belittle her sister, like the rich man
who gives charity without the pauper realizing that it was charity. This
would also explain how Leah could make, what appears to be, such an
audacious argument after all Rachel had done for her.
all these underlying patterns, ironies and brilliant acts of kindness pale
in comparison to one statement made by the Torah in this week’s Parsha,
that not only reminds us of the importance of dialogue, but also teaches us
how honesty of self in that said conversation is most crucial.
us begin with a social experiment:
a Rabbi begins a Drasha by requesting a show of hands of anyone in the room
who has said Loshon Hara about friends and family in the past month. We
would have to assume many hands would go up, and those who refrain are only
protecting their image, acknowledging to themselves that they too are
guilty. The same would go for anger and a myriad of other character flaws.
is, however, on exception, one Midda/character trait that nobody dares to
admit, even to themselves, that they are guilty of;
same Rabbi begins his talk, “Please raise your hands if you are guilty of
being jealous of friends or loved ones this past month”. The smart money
is on the outcome being that no hands are raised. This, although
jealousy is the only Midda mentioned in the Torah as a prohibition, indeed
it is one of the Ten Commandments! No doubt, whether we like to admit it or
not, jealousy plays a powerful role over not just our lives but world
events. Is it a stretch to suggest that envy is behind so much of this
global war we are now in? That Kinna/jealousy is what drives such hatred for
the State of Israel, a nation, which in 60 years has created an oasis in the
Middle East, where universities, hospitals and entrepreneurship
flourish-where Israel is now the 3rd most traded home to
businesses on the NASDAQ?
made Rachel so great was, in the middle of all that was transpiring in this
week’s Parsha, not to mention the drive to build Shevatim, was her
of jealousy (30:1), the first time this term was even used regarding our
nation. It was only when G-d saw that this covetousness subsided- 30:14-22-
by seeing Rachel giving over Yaakov, once again, to Leah, and watching even
more Shevatim be born to others (Dan, Naftoli, Gad, Asher, Yissachar and
Zevulan) yet not approaching (reproaching?) Yaakov again – that G-d
finally remembered her (30: 22).
in a while I will mistakenly pick up a Nussach Sefard Siddur and use the
occasion to say their Nussach of the Tephila found therein at the end of
Shemona Esrah, which includes the (troubling) words, “…may nobody be
jealous of me nor I be jealous of anyone…” I say troubling because after
we complete all the Tephilos in Shemona Esreh that are B’Loshin Rabim/plural,
Elokeiy N’Tzor is the the one prayer that is only about, and
written in, the Yachid/singular, and, that being so, why would the request
that I not be jealous not be enough here, for, to illustrate,
we don’t also say “…all evil plans against me (וכל
should be foiled and allevil plans against others, as well, should fail”?
I believe to be the answer to this question is critical to our understanding
of the very physical, emotional and financial dangers associated with
jealousy; asking G-d that no-one be jealous of us is a
personal Tephilla, for, as we briefly lay out above, there is nothing more
precarious or lethal to our very being then to have envy look us in the eye.
We have all seen examples of this, and its especially visible among
children, where someone is maligned, hurt or gossiped about solely because
there is an undercurrent of profound resentment and spite due to envy.
it is for this reason, in G-d’s great wisdom, that it is precisely at the
moment of our exile’s commencement – where the pathological
cycle begins of the Jewish people being thrown out from a country,
due, mainly, to an overpowering, and historically repetitious, Envy
- that we stop to pray at the grave site of Rachel (see
Rashi 49:8), she who was the first to vanquish that Koach/power.
is our hope that through our awakening to our internal pandemic of
Kinna, the world as well will be awakened to their eternal D.N.A.,
and we shall be granted peace in our time, stopping by the grave of Rachel,
only this time to greet her in song.
 Heard in his name from Dr. Danzinger.
 This elucitation in the giving of the Simanim is not my own, however I am unsure who revealed it to me, perhapsR.Baruch Danzinger.
 This can clearly be inferred from Rashi, 30:1. Although some may suggest that the Torah was only telling us what Rachel was feeling, whether she knew it or not, to me, and considering Rashi above, such an interpretation seems somewhat forced.
 The simple answer would be that it would seem disingenuous to ask for this while still trying to get others to feel that way toward us, however, that can be said, as will be shown, by other parts of Elokei N’Tzor as well.
Yomi takes place nightly at the Young Israel of Greater Buffalo, 105 Maple Road,
after the evening services. For complete schedule call 634-0212 or visit their
web site at yibuffalo.org