Vayetzei (Genesis 28:10-32:3 )
GOOD MORNING! Until I was 22 years old and started to learn in a yeshiva, I always thought that there were only 10 Commandments. I was surprised to find out that there are actually 613 commandments in the Torah. There are 248 positive commandments and 365 negative commandments (prohibitions).
There are some mitzvot (commandments) in which we are obligated once a year (i.e. blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah), mitzvot which are once a week (Shabbat) and mitzvot which are daily (prayer). There are also six mitzvot in which we are obligated every moment of the day.
In Hebrew, these are called The Six Mitzvot Temidiot -- The Six Constant Mitzvot. I highly recommend the Aish Foundation Series in Spirituality -- for depth and breadth. If you prefer a book, read Sefer HaChinuch which elucidates all of the mitzvot of the Torah, The Concise Book of Mitzvoth or The Six Constant Mitzvos. For an advance course, sign up at TheSixConstantMitzvos.com.
While you are waiting in lines or waiting for an appointment, the Six Constant Commandments give you something to think about! After each mitzvah is its source in the Torah and its number in the Sefer HaChinuch.
Vayetze, Genesis 28:10 - 32:3
This week we have the trials and tribulations of Jacob living with and working for his father-in-law, Laban. Jacob agreed to work as a shepherd 7 years for Rachel only to have Laban switch daughters on him at the marriage ceremony. This is why we have the badekin ('covering' ceremony) where the groom sees the face of his bride to ensure he is marrying the right woman before he covers her with the veil.
As Jacob tries to build his equity, Laban changes their agreement time after time. After 20 years, the Almighty tells Jacob the time has come to return to the land of Canaan. Jacob and his household secretly leave only to be pursued by Laban who has claims to put forth. The story ends with peace and blessings between Jacob and Laban.
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based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"And (Jacob) had a dream and in his dream there was a ladder standing on the ground and its top reached the Heavens" (Genesis 28:12).
What insight into life can we learn from this dream?
The Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, cites the idea expressed by many commentators that the ladder Jacob saw in his dream symbolizes the situation of every person in this world. There are two actions a person performs on a ladder. Either he goes up from the bottom to the top, or else he goes down from the top to the bottom. Each day in a person's life he faces new challenges. If he has the willpower and self-discipline to overcome those challenges, he goes up in his spiritual level. If, however, a person fails to exercise the necessary self-control, he lowers himself. This is our daily task, to climb higher every day.
There is no standing in one place. When challenges arise, you will either behave in an elevated manner and grow from the experience or you will fail. Learn to appreciate the daily challenges that face you. Every difficulty is a means of elevating yourself. Every time you overcome a negative impulse you grow as a person. When a person climbs a ladder, he feels his progress with each step. So, too, with your daily victories over your negative impulses. Feel your progress and you will have the motivation to continue climbing.
Whenever you see a ladder, let it serve as a reminder of Jacob's ladder. When passing near a ladder ask yourself, "Am I presently climbing in my spiritual level or am I going down?" If you ever answer that you are going down, do not despair. Rather, strengthen yourself and start climbing from where you are.
(or go to http://www.aish.com/sh/c/)
Guatemala 5:15 - Hong Kong 5:22 - Honolulu 5:32
J'Burg 6:35 - London 3:34 - Los Angeles 4:26
Melbourne 8:16 - Mexico City 5:41 - Miami 5:12
New York 4:10 - Singapore 6:41 - Toronto 4:23
You are rich according to what you are,
not according to what you have