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Parshat Toldot (5766)

This week's section introduces us to the struggle between the holy patriarch Yaakov and his evil twin brother Esav.

This eventually would blossom into the conflict between the Jews and gentiles (i.e. the Church, the atheists etc.) that has been going on since then, some four thousand years ago, and will be resolved only by the arrival of Moshiach.

In fact the works of Chassidut and Kabala explain that the way that Moshiach will settle it is by revealing that, in fact Esav, the enemy of Judaism, in his essence is really holier that Yaakov!

This seemingly absurd idea was the reason that Yitzchak (Isaac, Yaakov's father) wanted to bless Esav and the reason that Esav desperately wanted that blessing. And it is also the reason that G-d created Esav in the first place and made him Yaakov's brother.

To understand this, here are two stories I heard about the fifth Rebbe of Chabad Rebbe Shalom Dovber, (1860 – 1920) nicknamed the Rebbe ReShab, whose birthday was last week (20th of Cheshvan)

Rabbi Yaakov Landa was a follower (Chassid) of the Rebbe ReShab but not the usual type of Chassid. The Rebbe took an unusual liking to him and even made him his 'House Rabbi'.

Any Torah questions that arouse in the household of the Rebbe; if a chicken is kosher, if something is permissible on Shabbat etc. would be directed to Rabbi Landa. Needless to say, the devotion of Rabbi Landa to the Rebbe was boundless.

In addition to being a great Scholar, Rabbi Landa was a very knowledgeable man in mundane things as well and was an expert at home remedies.

(For instance I once was at a wedding when the groom suddenly began suffering from an uncontrollable nosebleed. One of Rabbi Landa's sons (Rabbi Moshe who is now chief Rabbi of Bnei Brak) rushed to him, said he had a trick he learned from his father, found a piece of string, tied it very tightly around the base of the fellow's little finger and after a few seconds amazingly the bleeding completely stopped!! Since then I have used this tens of times to help people with nosebleed and it works every time!)

When the very contagious and deadly disease of Typhus broke out in Russia near the turn of the century Rav Landa had ample opportunity to use his skills. The regular doctors, besides having virtually no treatment for Typhus, were also understandably very reluctant to come in contact with the sick while Rav Landa both did have remedies and did not fear for himself when it came to saving others.

He succeeded in healing hundreds but it was almost inevitable that he eventually contracted the disease himself.

In a matter of days he lost consciousness and his life was hanging in the balance for several weeks until the crisis finally passed and he came to.

The only problem was that when he was sick and unconscious the Rebbe Reshab passed away unbeknownst to him.

Every day Rav Landa was taken from his room outside into the sun to get stronger until after several more weeks he was back to his old self. Of course all the time he was recovering he asked everyone that passed by about the Rebbe's health but the Chassidim agreed among themselves not mention a word to him about the Rebbe's passing. The answer was always the same 'the Rebbe is fine'.

But Rabbi Landa sensed that something was wrong and kept asking until somehow he got the one person that didn't know about this agreement and he heard the bitter truth.

A normal person can understand what a terrible blow this must have been to him; A Rebbe is more than just a leader or even a father, the Rebbe virtually reveals and connects to the soul and true essence of the Chassid.

And the relation between Rav Landa and the Rebbe Reshab was even deeper and more personal than that; Rav Landa had been near the Rebbe day and night and his life was virtually tied up with his.

That night Rabbi Landa wrote a short letter to the Rebbe. He folded the letter up, put it in an envelope and the next morning when he was taken outside he waited for the same man to pass, handed him the letter and requested that he put it on the Rebbe's grave and tell no one about it.

In the letter he wrote that he wanted the Rebbe to take him away from this world. He wanted to be with the Rebbe because he felt that life was worth nothing without him.

Two days later the Rebbe's son, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak (who became the Rebbe in his father's stead) came to visit Rabbi Landa. He pulled up a chair, sat next to his bed where he was laying in the sunlight and said, "I just was by my father's grave and he gave me a message to give over to you,"

Rav Landa ushered up all his strength, propped himself up on the bed and prepared himself for the Rebbe's message from 'beyond'. When the Rebbe's son saw Rav Landa was ready he continued.

"My father said: "Stop making stupid requests!'"

The second story occurred several years afterwards.

Rabbi Landa had an offer from some very solid and trustworthy businessmen to join them in an investment outside of Russia that was almost sure to bring in big profits. These businessmen, besides being his friends, admired his deep mind and ability to think straght and felt he would be an asset to their endeavor. He would not have to leave the country, rather he would give advice and invest a portion of the money.

It was very tempting. Rabbi Landa had a good business sense and this seemed a sure thing but he could not make such a decision without consulting the Rebbe.

Here was a problem. He was still tied heart and soul to the Rebbe Reshab and the Rebbe Reshab had left this world years earlier. So he decided to consult the Rebbe's son and replacement (Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, nicknamed the Raayatz) before he said yes.

He set an appointment with the Raayatz and when the time came entered with awe and trepidation to ask his question.

As he entered he noticed a large tractate of the Talmud on the table between them with one page folded over.

He asked his question and the Rebbe Raayatz pointed to the Talmud and said, "Open it up please."

Rabbi Landa did as he was told; he opened the book to the folded page and immediately caught his eye a line that said "It is better to invest money near one's home than far away."

"This is pure prophesy!" He thought to himself, "He knew what my question would be and how to answer it through this page of the Talmud!"

"Not at all" answered the Rebbe Raayatz aloud. "It wasn't my prophesy. You see, just before you entered, my father (the Rebbe Reshab who had passed away years earlier) was here and told me to fold over this page of the Talmud and show it to you. It was he that gave the advice!"

Both of these stories show the importance of this physical world. And that is the implication of Esav.

Metaphorically speaking, Esav represents this world. In Hebrew 'Esav' means 'completely made'; the creation seems to be a complete and autonomous, 'pre-fab', self-made entity.

But Yaakov represents the Creator.

'Yaakov' is an anagram of "Yud Akav" namely revealing 'Yud'; the first and highest letter of G-d's name even in the 'heels' (Akev). In other words the world depends on its creator; G-d. More exactly, Yaakov's message is that G-d creates everything constantly even the lowest aspects; the heels of creation. So the world is not a meaningless being but a precious and demanding creation. And its Creator is even more precious.

That is why the nations, religions and philosophies of the world have opposed Judaism for thousands of years. Because they are interested only in the creation and themselves while the Jews, like Yaakov live for the Creator and His aggrandizement.... and the two seem to be opposites.

But Moshiach will reveal that they are not. Indeed, they are not only complimentary but only here in this physical world can G-d's love, beauty, power, holiness and real 'intentions' be revealed. And only here can the true uniqueness and infinite potential found in each and ever Jew; and in each and every human being be revealed.

Because Esav really has a higher source.

As the Rebbe Reshab revealed to Rabbi Landa first telling him that it is better to be yourself in this physical world than negated to G-d in heaven. And in the second story, how the Rebbe left the 'upper worlds' to give advice down here in the world of Esav.

This is because G-d wants us to reveal the true purpose in the CREATION and OF the creation.

It is here that He put man and gave the Torah. It will be here that Moshiach will gather the Jews, build the Temple, make heaven on earth through the seven Noahide commandments and finally it is here that G-s will raise the dead.

Yes, according to Judaism each and every Jewish soul will actually leave heaven and become re-incarnated in a physical body that will be MORE pure than the soul.

Then we will clearly see that the physical creation is 'closer' to the Creator than the highest of spiritual worlds.

That is why Yitzchak wanted to bless Esav; he wanted all this to happen thousands of years ago. But it was impossible.

Yaakov realized that it would be a long process. But the Lubavitcher Rebbe said that this process is coming to an end. Ours is the generation of Moshiach.

Hard to believe but after so many thousands of years of suffering the bringing of Moshiach and elevation of Esav depends on US, NOW. The responsibility rests on our shoulders to do all we can; just one more good deed, word or even thought can tip the scales transform all the pain and suffering of thousands of years of exile and bring....

Moshiach NOW!!This week's section introduces us to the struggle between the holy patriarch Yaakov and his evil twin brother Esav.

This eventually would blossom into the conflict between the Jews and gentiles (i.e. the Church, the atheists etc.) that has been going on since then, some four thousand years ago, and will be resolved only by the arrival of Moshiach.

In fact the works of Chassidut and Kabala explain that the way that Moshiach will settle it is by revealing that, in fact Esav, the enemy of Judaism, in his essence is really holier that Yaakov!

This seemingly absurd idea was the reason that Yitzchak (Isaac, Yaakov's father) wanted to bless Esav and the reason that Esav desperately wanted that blessing. And it is also the reason that G-d created Esav in the first place and made him Yaakov's brother.

To understand this, here are two stories I heard about the fifth Rebbe of Chabad Rebbe Shalom Dovber, (1860 – 1920) nicknamed the Rebbe ReShab, whose birthday was last week (20th of Cheshvan)

Rabbi Yaakov Landa was a follower (Chassid) of the Rebbe ReShab but not the usual type of Chassid. The Rebbe took an unusual liking to him and even made him his 'House Rabbi'.

Any Torah questions that arouse in the household of the Rebbe; if a chicken is kosher, if something is permissible on Shabbat etc. would be directed to Rabbi Landa. Needless to say, the devotion of Rabbi Landa to the Rebbe was boundless.

In addition to being a great Scholar, Rabbi Landa was a very knowledgeable man in mundane things as well and was an expert at home remedies.

(For instance I once was at a wedding when the groom suddenly began suffering from an uncontrollable nosebleed. One of Rabbi Landa's sons (Rabbi Moshe who is now chief Rabbi of Bnei Brak) rushed to him, said he had a trick he learned from his father, found a piece of string, tied it very tightly around the base of the fellow's little finger and after a few seconds amazingly the bleeding completely stopped!! Since then I have used this tens of times to help people with nosebleed and it works every time!)

When the very contagious and deadly disease of Typhus broke out in Russia near the turn of the century Rav Landa had ample opportunity to use his skills. The regular doctors, besides having virtually no treatment for Typhus, were also understandably very reluctant to come in contact with the sick while Rav Landa both did have remedies and did not fear for himself when it came to saving others.

He succeeded in healing hundreds but it was almost inevitable that he eventually contracted the disease himself.

In a matter of days he lost consciousness and his life was hanging in the balance for several weeks until the crisis finally passed and he came to.

The only problem was that when he was sick and unconscious the Rebbe Reshab passed away unbeknownst to him.

Every day Rav Landa was taken from his room outside into the sun to get stronger until after several more weeks he was back to his old self. Of course all the time he was recovering he asked everyone that passed by about the Rebbe's health but the Chassidim agreed among themselves not mention a word to him about the Rebbe's passing. The answer was always the same 'the Rebbe is fine'.

But Rabbi Landa sensed that something was wrong and kept asking until somehow he got the one person that didn't know about this agreement and he heard the bitter truth.

A normal person can understand what a terrible blow this must have been to him; A Rebbe is more than just a leader or even a father, the Rebbe virtually reveals and connects to the soul and true essence of the Chassid.

And the relation between Rav Landa and the Rebbe Reshab was even deeper and more personal than that; Rav Landa had been near the Rebbe day and night and his life was virtually tied up with his.

That night Rabbi Landa wrote a short letter to the Rebbe. He folded the letter up, put it in an envelope and the next morning when he was taken outside he waited for the same man to pass, handed him the letter and requested that he put it on the Rebbe's grave and tell no one about it.

In the letter he wrote that he wanted the Rebbe to take him away from this world. He wanted to be with the Rebbe because he felt that life was worth nothing without him.

Two days later the Rebbe's son, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak (who became the Rebbe in his father's stead) came to visit Rabbi Landa. He pulled up a chair, sat next to his bed where he was laying in the sunlight and said, "I just was by my father's grave and he gave me a message to give over to you,"

Rav Landa ushered up all his strength, propped himself up on the bed and prepared himself for the Rebbe's message from 'beyond'. When the Rebbe's son saw Rav Landa was ready he continued.

"My father said: "Stop making stupid requests!'"

The second story occurred several years afterwards.

Rabbi Landa had an offer from some very solid and trustworthy businessmen to join them in an investment outside of Russia that was almost sure to bring in big profits. These businessmen, besides being his friends, admired his deep mind and ability to think straght and felt he would be an asset to their endeavor. He would not have to leave the country, rather he would give advice and invest a portion of the money.

It was very tempting. Rabbi Landa had a good business sense and this seemed a sure thing but he could not make such a decision without consulting the Rebbe.

Here was a problem. He was still tied heart and soul to the Rebbe Reshab and the Rebbe Reshab had left this world years earlier. So he decided to consult the Rebbe's son and replacement (Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, nicknamed the Raayatz) before he said yes.

He set an appointment with the Raayatz and when the time came entered with awe and trepidation to ask his question.

As he entered he noticed a large tractate of the Talmud on the table between them with one page folded over.

He asked his question and the Rebbe Raayatz pointed to the Talmud and said, "Open it up please."

Rabbi Landa did as he was told; he opened the book to the folded page and immediately caught his eye a line that said "It is better to invest money near one's home than far away."

"This is pure prophesy!" He thought to himself, "He knew what my question would be and how to answer it through this page of the Talmud!"

"Not at all" answered the Rebbe Raayatz aloud. "It wasn't my prophesy. You see, just before you entered, my father (the Rebbe Reshab who had passed away years earlier) was here and told me to fold over this page of the Talmud and show it to you. It was he that gave the advice!"

Both of these stories show the importance of this physical world. And that is the implication of Esav.

Metaphorically speaking, Esav represents this world. In Hebrew 'Esav' means 'completely made'; the creation seems to be a complete and autonomous, 'pre-fab', self-made entity.

But Yaakov represents the Creator.

'Yaakov' is an anagram of "Yud Akav" namely revealing 'Yud'; the first and highest letter of G-d's name even in the 'heels' (Akev). In other words the world depends on its creator; G-d. More exactly, Yaakov's message is that G-d creates everything constantly even the lowest aspects; the heels of creation. So the world is not a meaningless being but a precious and demanding creation. And its Creator is even more precious.

That is why the nations, religions and philosophies of the world have opposed Judaism for thousands of years. Because they are interested only in the creation and themselves while the Jews, like Yaakov live for the Creator and His aggrandizement.... and the two seem to be opposites.

But Moshiach will reveal that they are not. Indeed, they are not only complimentary but only here in this physical world can G-d's love, beauty, power, holiness and real 'intentions' be revealed. And only here can the true uniqueness and infinite potential found in each and ever Jew; and in each and every human being be revealed.

Because Esav really has a higher source.

As the Rebbe Reshab revealed to Rabbi Landa first telling him that it is better to be yourself in this physical world than negated to G-d in heaven. And in the second story, how the Rebbe left the 'upper worlds' to give advice down here in the world of Esav.

This is because G-d wants us to reveal the true purpose in the CREATION and OF the creation.

It is here that He put man and gave the Torah. It will be here that Moshiach will gather the Jews, build the Temple, make heaven on earth through the seven Noahide commandments and finally it is here that G-s will raise the dead.

Yes, according to Judaism each and every Jewish soul will actually leave heaven and become re-incarnated in a physical body that will be MORE pure than the soul.

Then we will clearly see that the physical creation is 'closer' to the Creator than the highest of spiritual worlds.

That is why Yitzchak wanted to bless Esav; he wanted all this to happen thousands of years ago. But it was impossible.

Yaakov realized that it would be a long process. But the Lubavitcher Rebbe said that this process is coming to an end. Ours is the generation of Moshiach.

Hard to believe but after so many thousands of years of suffering the bringing of Moshiach and elevation of Esav depends on US, NOW. The responsibility rests on our shoulders to do all we can; just one more good deed, word or even thought can tip the scales transform all the pain and suffering of thousands of years of exile and bring....

Moshiach NOW!!

Copyright © 1999-2017 Rabbi Tuvia Bolton. All rights reserved. No unauthorized reproduction or copying of this material shall occur without prior permission.

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