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December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777
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The One Chapter Book – Ovadiah



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Thus we learn a rule: whenever we want to highlight an important matter, and avoid it “getting lost among the trees,” we need to give it “prime time” This is what Chazal did for Ovadiah. The transformation he engineered, to go from a life of Esav to becoming one of Klal Yisrael, was so momentous, that his life and message need maximum attention and emphasis.

In Parshas VaYishlach, Esav and Yaakov go their separate ways, and Esav gives up the vital role he could have played in the history of Bnei Yisrael. The Malbim and other commentators have taught that Esav could have been a partner with Yaakov in building Klal Yisrael. But Esav chose to reject this role, to run away from what he could have been, from whom he was supposed to be, from what G-d had in mind for him.

Because of this rejection, HaKadosh Baruch Hu chose to lambaste Esav in this week’s haftorah. And because Ovadiah was one of the few descendants of Esav t­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­o actualize his potential and become a ger tzedek and even a great prophet in Klal Yisrael, Hashem chose him to relay His contempt.

Imagine a world where Esav and Yaakov were together as part of one “team.” How different world history would have been? How much more good would have been accomplished? How much closer would the world be to where G-d wants it to be? How many centuries, if not millennia sooner, would Moshiach have come?

Now, step out of those imaginative dreams, and look at our world again and you will be able to begin to appreciate the anger Hashem has toward Esav.

These are some of the happenings in this week’s haftorah.

Rabbi Boruch Leff

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