This week we read Parshas Vayeitzei, the parsha in which Yaakov Avinu meets Rachel and Leah, marries and begins a family. What an appropriate time to take a look at our own lives and focus on all the good we have been blessed with.
In the aftermath of the Union army’s terrible defeat at the battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, in December 1862, Abraham Lincoln felt compelled to relieve General Ambrose Burnside of command of the Army of the Potomac.
The parents of Reb Elimelech M’Lizhensk, Eliezer Lipman and his pious wife, Mirish, emanated from families that could trace their lineage all the way back to Rashi, Rav Yochanan Hasandlar of Talmudic fame and even King David. They lived in the townlet of Lapachi, not far from Tiktin.
Even before they were born, Jacob and Esau struggled in the womb. They were destined, it seems, to be eternal adversaries. Not only were they different in character and appearance, they also held different places in their parents’ affections.
To “trick” Yitzchak into giving him the berachah, Yaakov donned Eisav’s clothing, put the skin of an animal on his arms and neck to simulate the hairiness of Eisav, and went in to his father to receive the blessing.
Hashem has many agents who do His bidding and bring about in the world the ends He desires. Sometimes the agent is rather unlikely, as when an evil person’s deeds bring about something beneficial. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, explains that such was the case when Rivkah’s family bestowed upon her a blessing that in fact alluded to Israel’s ultimate elevation over the other nations, and Hashem’s ultimate kingship over all the world.
Freedom is not free. There is a price to pay.
When God spared the Jews from the death of the firstborn, the price was and still is that all firstborns, bechorot, belong to God. “On the day that I struck down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified every firstborn in Israel for Myself, from man to beast they shall be Mine.”
Eliezer, the faithful servant of Avraham, was charged with finding a wife for Yitzchak. Knowing full well the gravity of his mission, he also recognized its difficulty. The woman he would choose was to be the mother of the Je