Shabbat Parashat Vayeitzei 5775
Vayeitzei | 7 Kislev 5775 | 11/29/2014
Our parasha starts off with Yaakov’s dream of a ladder reaching from the ground to the heavens, with angels ascending and descending (Bereishit 28:12). These angels use the ladder in carrying out Hashem’s will. How are human beings, relegated to the ground, able to reach the level of agents of Hashem or reach the place of Beit El (literally, the House of Hashem) to see the ladder as Yaakov did?
One day there was a power outage in our area while I was in my Beit Midrash. Emergency lights were on, but the ner tamid (eternal flame) was off. Were we required to go get a candle to serve as a ner tamid, or could we wait until the lights would come back on?
How do we know that the Divine Presence supports the ill? It is as it says, “Hashem will support him on his bed of anguish” (Tehillim 41:4).
Regarding the husband’s responsibility, there is a situation known as a wife who is involved in the financial activity of the home. The Rama (Choshen Mishpat 96:6) says that while there is an opinion that the husband is obligated for the debts created by his wife who is active in the finances of the home, the halacha is like the one who says the husband is not obligated. The Shach (ad loc. 9), though, argues convincingly at length that a husband is obligated for such a wife’s activities. In any case, when the common practice in society is that wives not only get involved in financial dealings but are generally authorized by their husbands to create obligations for them, the Rama agrees that this is binding on the husband. While the Minchat Yaakov argues on the Shach, his arguments are not convincing and, in any case, should not stand against the common practice, as the Tumim points out. Therefore, the husband is obligated not only in the principal but potentially even in the profit payments.
In the introduction to “The Guide for the Perplexed” Maimonides states that generally the figures employed by prophets can be divided into two groups. In one group are the parables that are meant to show the reader a single general idea and all the details are simply required to give the simile its proper form and order, or to conceal the idea. In the second group are very deep prophetic figures where almost every word represents a certain idea. Maimonides doesn’t tell us which prophetic figures in the torah and in the profits belong to which group, but from the first two examples he gives in his introduction it becomes clear to us that Jacob’s dream with the ladder belongs to the group of prophetic figures where each part has great meaning: “The word ‘ladder’ refers to one idea ‘set up on the earth’ to another ‘and the top of it reached to heaven’ to a third ‘angels of God’ to a fourth ‘ascending’ to a fifth ‘descending’ to a sixth ‘the Lord stood above it’ to a seventh. Every word in this figure introduces a fresh element into the idea represented by the figure” (The Guide for the Perplexed introduction)
to the memory of:
All those who
fell in the war for our homeland.
Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky
bat R’ Moshe Zev a”h.
who passed away on 10 Tamuz, 5774
Shirley, Sara Rivka bat
Yaakov Tzvi HaCohen z”l
Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld
Rabbi Yosef Mordechai Simcha
ben Bina Stern o.b.m
who passed away
21 Adar I, 5774
R' Yaakov ben Abraham & Aisha
Chana bat Yaish & Simcha
R' Shmuel Shemesh z"l
who passed away
17 Sivan, 5774
is endowed by
Les & Ethel Sutker
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).