Parshat Vayishlach: Parshah Resources

Audio Lecture: Battling the Stranger in the Darkness

There is an ongoing battle in our souls between the forces of good and the forces of evil. When we triumph over the evil, we benefit not only ourselves, but also the evil, whose Divine mission is to be defeated by the good. In this audio meditation, Rabbi Ginsburgh guides us through the symbolism of Jacob’s battle with the archangel of Esau. When we understand the inner meaning of this battle within our souls, we can rectify ourselves and our surroundings and manifest God’s Divine light in all of reality. Click here to access the audio and study aid.

Listen to Audio (length: 19:10min)

Jacob’s Mission of Mercy

Jacob’s sending of emissaries to his brother Esau—is one of compassion and mercy. Following the sages’ dictum that “everything follows the lead of the first time,” this indicates that the motivation behind all the missions in the Torah is compassion and mercy to others. This also bears on us, teaching us to send people only on missions where it is clear to us that our motivation is one of mercy. Click here to read the full article.

Do It Yourself

As the sages say, in general “It is more of a mitzvah to do something yourself than to send an emissary to do it on your behalf.”9 Or, in the colloquial: “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Indeed, we see that in the end Jacob himself placates his brother by bowing down seven times before him. Click here to read the full article.

Failure Comes Before Success

Though the three missions in parshot Vayishlach, Beshalach, and Shlach were failures they were not a complete waste. Rather, each of these missions, with its failed result, was a necessary stage in achieving the final goal. This is similar to the way that the sages say we should view our own sins: “A person does not understand the intricacies of a halachah [a law] until he transgresses it.” The Zohar goes even another step forward by stating that failure before success is the natural way in which the world was created, first darkness (“And the earth was dark…”) and then light (“And God said: ‘Let there be light!’”). In Kabbalistic language this is reflected in the precession of the World of Chaos (עולם התהו) to the World of Rectification (עולם התקון). Click here to read the full article.

Born Three Times

The first time that the soul descends from heaven in order to fulfill its mission on earth is at birth. But, Chassidut teaches that ideally a person experiences three births during his life. The first time is of course the birth of the physical body, when the soul is enclothed in the body for the duration of life. The second birth is experienced when a person gets married. The Torah tells us that marriage is the unification of a man and a woman as one body: “And he will cling to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Therefore, the soul must descend from the man’s body in order to be enclothed in the unified body of the husband and wife. Finally, if a person merits, then the third experience of birth is when he connects himself to the true tzadik, the leader of the generation. Click here to read the full article.

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