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Toldot 5769

Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING! I just returned from a trip to Hong Kong and Singapore. Each person shared the economic woes and fears he faced - and their efforts, optimism and hopes to come through these difficult times. People are truly worried.

Two thoughts to share with you regarding worry: (1) Worry may be defined as interest paid in advance on a debt that oftentimes never comes due. (2) "Worry is like a rocking chair. You go back and forth, but you get nowhere." Worry is wasted energy and wasted emotion. One must make his plans and his efforts, but worry will only hamper his success.

I have a dim memory of a television show from my youth entitled, "Who Do You Trust?" The show was not entitled "Is There Anyone You Trust?," because, in the end all of us trust in someone or something. People trust in their intelligence, their power, their charm, their knowledge, their connections, their political candidate, and in their wealth. For those who trust (or trusted...) in their wealth, it is ironic that on the American dollar bill it advises "In God We Trust."

Ultimately, what will help all of us to weather these times is strengthening our trust in God. Trust in God gives a person peace of mind, the ability to relax and to be free of stress and worry. It helps one to deal with frustrations and difficulties.

Like all intelligent discussions, we first have to start with a definition. Trust in God is believing, knowing, internalizing that all that the Almighty does for us if for our good. It is knowing that the Almighty loves us greater than any love one human being can have for another person. He totally knows and understands us and our personal situations. Only the Almighty has the power to impact your situation. He has a track record. You can rely on Him. Everything the Almighty does for you is a gift; there are no strings attached.

How does one strengthen his or her trust in God? It really helps if you keep a notebook and write down your thoughts. Let's look at some of the components of Trust in God and what we can do:

The Almighty loves You.

Make a list of all that the Almighty has done for you in the past - your health, your family, your physical and mental abilities. By writing a list you won't take things for granted nor overlook even the little or constant blessings He has bestowed upon you.

All that the Almighty does is for your good and He knows your needs.

Write down all of the times you thought that the Almighty was wrong; that you didn't get what you want - yet, it turned out better than had you gotten what you wanted.

Only the Almighty has the power to help you.

Record those times in your life when you put your trust in another human being and you were disappointed. The person didn't come through for you, the inside tip turned out to be false, your friend or boss changed his mind. Then record all of the times that you thought the situation was hopeless, all was lost - and things worked out or you were saved. Repeating to oneself "There is no other power than the Almighty" strengthens one's belief and calms the spirit.

I have no illusion that I am adequately addressing this topic; I know that I am only scratching the surface. I only hope to awaken an idea and motivate you to pursue trust in God to a deeper level. Torah study and prayer have always been the main means to developing character and values. The classic work on developing spirituality and trust in God, is Duties of the Heart (available at your local Jewish bookstore, at or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242). I highly suggest a personal visit to a Jewish bookstore to choose a book on this topic that speaks to your heart. You may also search for articles on or lectures on

For more on "Trust in God" go to!

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Torah Portion of the Week

Rivka (Rebecca) gives birth to Esav (Esau) and Yaakov (Jacob). Esav sells the birthright to Yaakov for a bowl of lentil soup. Yitzchak (Isaac) sojourns in Gerar with Avimelech (Avimelech), king of the Philistines. Esav marries two Hittite women, bringing great pain to his parents (because they weren't of the fold).

Yaakov impersonates Esav on the counsel of his mother in order to receive the blessing for the oldest son by his blind father, Yitzchak. Esav, angry because of his brother's deception which caused him to lose the firstborn blessings, plans to kill Yaakov, so Yaakov flees to his uncle Lavan (Laban) in Padan Aram - on the advice of his parents. They also advise him to marry Lavan's daughter.

Esav understands that his Canaanite wives are displeasing to his parents, so he marries a third wife, Machlath, the daughter of Ishmael.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And the servants of Yitzchak (Isaac) dug in the valley and found there a well of fresh water" (Genesis 16:19).

Why does the Torah elaborate on the wells Yitzchak found?

The Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, explains that this teaches us that we should not give up in frustration when we start something and run into difficulties. Do not despair. When Yitzchak dug and did not find water, he kept digging in other places until he finally found what he was seeking. When others quarreled with him and took over his wells, he still did not become discouraged. He continued his digging until he finally found a well with water that he was able to use in peace and he called the area Rechovot.

This, teaches the Chofetz Chaim, is a practical lesson for all areas of our lives. This applies to spiritual and material matters; to Torah studies and to business. Be persistent when things do not at first work out the way you wish. Especially when beginning to study Torah, do not give up if you find it difficult at first. People often fail because they give up too soon.

There are three rules for success in life: (1) Initiative - you have to try. (2) Perseverance - you have to keep trying. (3) The Almighty smiles upon your efforts. Keep trying and you will, God willing, succeed.


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Jerusalem 4:00
Guatemala 5:12 - Hong Kong 5:20 - Honolulu 5:30
J'Burg 6:25 - London 3:39 - Los Angeles 4:26
Melbourne 8:05 - Mexico City 5:38 - Miami 5:11

New York 4:12 - Singapore 6:36 - Toronto 4:25


We turn to God for help
when our foundations are shaking,
only to learn that it is
God who is shaking them.
-- Charles C. West

Mazal Tov on the
Bat Mitzvah of Our Mommy

Beth Bloom

Mommy, we love you and
are so proud of you!
You teach us, inspire us,
nurture us and always love us.

-- Jacob, Oliver & Emily Stern

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Kalman Packouz

Click here for Rabbi Packouz's bio
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Copyright Rabbi Kalman Packouz 2008

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