Parshat Vayishlach 5770: Contrasting Moral, Spiritual Honesty With Clouded False Perceptions

by, Moshe Burt

As our Parsha begins, Yaakov sent melachim (angels), some render a translation of messengers, “… ahead of him to Eisev to the land of Seir, to the field of Edom… Thus shall you say … to Eisev, so said your servant Yaakov: ‘Im-Lavan garti’ (I have sojourned with Lavan) …” (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 32, posukim 4 & 5).

We learn that the Gematria (numerical value) of the word ‘garti’ is 613; that Yaakov “… sojourned with Lavan, but yet … kept all of the 613 commandments and … did not learn from his [Lavan’s] wicked deeds.” (Torah Gems, Aharon Greenberg, Parsha Vayishlach page 251)  [...]  Click here to read more.

Parsha Vayeitzei 5770: Yaakov and Practical Applications of Compassion and Cruelty — Revisit

by Moshe Burt

In last week’s Parsha Toldos, we learned about Rivka, who rose above an evil environment while internalizing it’s insights and was thus well positioned to urge Yaakov to claim the Bracha, and about Yaakov, the “Ish Tam”. We learn that Yaakov was “totally honest, a man of great integrity” but was also master over the trait of being “tam”, a “‘plain man’, … without trickery. This means that Yaakov did not allow this “Ish Tam” character trait to dominate him. He knew when and where to act otherwise. We knew that from his demand for the birthright from Eisev in exchange for the lentil soup. These traits surely seemed inculcated to Yaakov as a result of Rivka Imeinu’s nurturing. [...]  Click here to read more.

Parsha Toldos 5770: Yitzchak’s False Perceptions Regarding Eisev

by Moshe Burt

In considering Avraham Aveinu’s passing and his son Yitzchak’s aveilut (mourning) of his Father’s passing, there seem to be a number of burning questions which beg to be asked concerning the relationship between Yitzchak and Eisev.

In understanding that Eisev was largely able to camouflage his evil behind his ability to honor his Father, how is it that he (Eisev), this master of Kibud Av, is out running wild committing two of the Big 3 aveirot — Gilui Aroyot; violating a betrothed maiden, and murder; in chopping off Nimrod’s head and killing his (Nimrod’s) 2 guards on the day of his Father’s aveilut? [...]  Click here to read more.

Parsha Chaye Sarah 5770: Avraham’s Intuitive Perceptions, Today’s Real Adversarial Intentions

by Moshe Burt

There are two intriguing commentaries, each relating to a different posuk of Parsha Chaye Sarah, regarding the dialogue leading up to Avraham Aveinu’s acquisition of the Ma’arat HaMachpela for 400 shekels of silver from Efron the Hittite.

The first of the two posukim is spoken by Avraham and says, in part:

“I will have given the money for the field; take it of me …” (Breish’it, Perek 23, posuk 13)

“…That a man may marry a woman by using money to effect the marriage is deduced in the Talmud (Kiddushin 2) by drawing a parallel from this verse. But the parallel goes beyond merely the acquisition of the land of the Efronite and the acquisition of a wife. Just as in a marriage the act of acquisition is only the beginning and not the end, because that is when all one’s obligations begin — food, clothing, etc. — the same is true in our dealings with the Efronites. Nothing ends with written contracts and agreements. We pay, pay and pay again, and yet they keep demanding more from us.” (Torah Gems on Chaye Sarah, page 182 quoting Rabbi A.M. Amiel)  [...]  Click here to read more.