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A Shabbat Nugget: Parashat Vayetzei

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner
Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Our sages teach us that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, being the fathers of the Jewish nation bequeath as an inheritance for the Jewish nation, their distinct characteristics.  In this week’s Torah portion we learn about the life of Jacob.  The Torah tells us about Jacob that “He was a man of simple sincerity who sat in the tents of learning Torah.”

Sometimes people who are simple and sincere are viewed as unintelligent.  However, this is not necessarily the case, simple sincerity can be a result of great devotion and selflessness. Certainly in the case of Jacob his simple sincerity in his service of G-d was a result of his strong and selfless connection to G-d.

This also explains Jacob’s unique characteristics.  The Kabbalists teach us that Abraham personified Chesed-kindness. He was kind to all regardless if they were deserving of kindness.  Isaac personified Gevurah, which is the mode of teaching through restraint and discipline.   Jacob personified Tiferet-beauty which synthesizes the two diametrically opposed approaches of “Chesed” and “Gevurah”.  Generally, people’s natures are naturally inclined either towards kindness or discipline. Jacob’s ability to synthesize the two approaches came as a result of his sincerity and selflessness which allowed him to rise above his natural inclinations.

About Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.

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