Posted by: mosesfromsinai | November 15, 2015

Vayaitzai – And He Went Out

This week’s Torah Reading is Vayaitzai – And He Went Out.

A little strange background.  Yitzchak was 40 years old when he married Rivka who was 3 (relax she agreed and besides she was able to water many camels so her physical and mental state were not that of a 3 year old today).  It took 20 years before the twins Esav and Yaakov were born after a great deal of prayers.  Yitzchak blesses Yaakov when Yitzchak is 123 years old (so we can see things were different in those days).  It is then that Yaakov is told by his mother that Esav is thinking of killing him and it might be a good idea to leave town.  RIvka speaks to Yitzchak and suggests that Yaakov go to her brother, Lavan, and find a nice girl there to marry.  (Note that Yakov is now 63 years old and still single.)  Yaakov leaves and stops off to learn Torah with Shem and Ever for 14 years.  This he needs to survive living with his crooked future father-in-law Lavan. (Note also that later Yaakov will send Yehuda, his son, to Egypt to set up a Yeshiva so that they can survive the Exile in Egypt.)  This all makes Yaakov now 77 years old when he meets Rochel by the well.  He then works another 7 years for Lavan before he gets married, thinking it would be Rochel as was agreed upon by him and Lavan.  (Remember Lavan was a crook so of course Yakov ends up with Leah first).  Thus he is now 84 years old by his first marriage.  Things were certainly different in those days. (Hey he ends up with 4 wives and 12 kids, yep definitely different in those days).

Rochel has prayed for a child and she has arranged for her maid servant to marry Yaakov. Thus she can at least participate in the upbringing of a child.  Leah sees this and does the same.  Yaakov marries Leah’s maid servant as well. Finally the Al-mighty answers Rochel’s prayers and she is given a child that she names Yoseph. (meaning add on – implying that the Al-mighty should bless her with a second child so that she should have as many as the maid servants)

This will be answered at a later date with the birth of Benyamin, the 12th and final tribe of the Jewish nation (6 from Leah and 2 each from Rochel and the maid servants.)

When Yoseph is born, Yaakov speaks to his father-in-law Lavan about leaving and returning to his parents in Israel.  Lavan wants him to still work so an arrangement is made.  The question is why did Yaakov wait until Yoseph is born before bringing up the topic of returning to Israel?  The answer given is that Yoseph is the child that could defend and deal with Esav.  Indeed, Esav, in a way reflects exile.  Yaakov was in exile because of Esav.  Yoseph represented the skill to survive exile and so he survives being in Egypt and raises a family that become also part of the tribes of Israel, Menasha and Ephraim.  We will later note that Yoseph was the chosen of Yaakov and thus embedded with the top quality of Torah that his father had to offer.  Thus we will see that Yoseph will be able to survive the many challenges he had to face in Egypt.

With the birth of Yoseph, Yaakov is able to face his twin Esav and have the ability to overcome darkness and exile.  This week’s Torah Reading contains the birth of Yoseph and is read in the month of Kislev, a month of Redemption, Chanuka and the lighting of the Menorah.  May we soon see this happen in Jerusalem with the real Menorah.


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