G-d Bless Who

Parshas Toldos

It is abundantly clear that Yaakov was destined to receive the Blessings from Yitzchak. Hashem Himself, attached his confirmation and additionally His will is evidenced by Rivka’s prophecy. Even Eisav conceded that Yaakov was the true recipient .


If Hashem indeed intended Yaakov to secure the Brochos, why orchestrate it so awkwardly? Why did Yaakov have to resort to subterfuge to “steal” the Brochos from Eisav, inviting Eisav’s everlasting hatred? Hashem could have directly told, or indirectly inspired, Yitzchok to bless Yaakov.


Yaakov has to realize that the Brochos do not define his purpose. The Blessings address the physical needs of man, while Yaakov’s role is spiritual fulfillment. These Blessings are merely a tool to assist him in fulfilling his divine purpose. In an ideal world, the physical support of Yaakov’s spiritual pursuits would have been Eisav’s role. (Just as Yissacher was supported by his brother Zevulun). Eisav then needed blessing for the work of his hands with which he would aid Yaakov. To clarify, for Yaakov that involvement in the physical realm is not his real duty, that is why the Blessings were presented initially to Eisav, and Yakov had to usurp them for their true purpose. Perhaps this is why Eisav is always at the ready to overwhelm Yaakov and reclaim his position: It keeps Yaakov from forgetting his own true mission.


What is the merely tool and what is the goal in your life?


In a small village in Poland there lived a man called Avrohom. Like our father Avrohom Avinu, he was well noted for his devotion to Hachnosas Orchim, the beautiful way he treated his guests. Avrohom was not wealthy – far from it!- but whatever he had, he was willing to share, with his visitors and the poor.

One day, Avrohom was standing outside his house and noticed a stranger approaching. As was his wont, he inquired as to the wanderer’s plans whilst in town. When the visitor admitted he had no place to stay, Avrohom immediately offered his home. Little did he know that his guest was a beloved Rebbe of many Chasidim. So Avrohom conducted himself in no more than his usal manner. The Rebbe witnessed Avrohom’s extraordinary devotion to the poor and needy.

At the end of a comfortable stay, the Rebbe revealed himself, and blessed Avrohom with riches. “To make it easier for you to continue to help others.”

From that day forward, Avrohom’s fortunes changed. He was no longer struggling for pennies with which to produce a Shabbos meal. His clothing was no longer patched, and he built himself a stately new home. Among the artwork adorning Avrohom’s new walls hung a large golden framed mirror of which Avrohom was especially proud. Other changes too could be seen: Avrohom was no longer on the lookout for people in need of his aid. In fact, he gave strict orders to his staff not to allow requests for help to disturb him from his busy business.

In the fullness of time, the Rebbe returned. Avrohom was excited to host his long ago guest once more. He took the Rebbe on a tour of his home, especially pointing out his prized mirror. “It’s quite a change, isn’t it?” He asked, smiling. “Yes,” the Rebbe replied sadly, “it is quite a change.” Turning from the mirror, the Rebbe asked Avrohom to join him at the window, which was covered with heavy brocade.

“What do you see?” the Rebbe asked, and Avrohom started to tell him about the people passing in the street. The Rebbe continued questioning for some time, until Avrohom said “Rebbe, why are you asking all these questions? Do we not have anything better to do with our time?”

The Rebbe smiled and said “A mirror and a window are both made of panes of glass, yet they function in very different ways. When you looked through the clear glass of the window, you could see your friends and neighbors. When you back the glass with silver, with money, it will reflect only you and your belongings. Avrohom, you with all your silver see things differently, you see your self.” Avrohom hung his head in shamed agreement.

That very evening, Avrohom opened his home to the poor again. He invited the villagers to his home and asked their forgiveness for his uncaring. When the last of the guests left, Avrohom took a knife and scraped some of the silver off the back of his mirror. He wanted the bare patch on the mirror to remind him of the lesson that he had learned.

Weekly Halacha

If a broom handle came off, on Shabbos one may not screw it back on.

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