Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Parshat Vayishlach - the Divine Within

I gave this shiur last night in Jerusalem. Happy Birthday Michael and thank you for hosting the shiur.

This shiur is in part a continuation of last week's shiur on angels. Only this time we examine 'Who is G-d'?

Who did Yaakov wrestle with? All the Rishonim (without exception as far as I could tell) say it was an angel. Yet this appears to contradict the simple reading of the Chumash, and ignores several Midrashim.

Is there a p'shat reading of the text? How are we to understand the statements of Chazal that equate Yaakov/Yisrael/Yeshurun with G-d?

I also bring two kabbalistic Rishonim (there are not so many Rishonim who wrote on kabbalah). However I completely failed to understand what they said, so even though I think the message is valid, profound and true, please ignore my misinterpretation of the Recanati and Avodat HaKodesh. I will try to have a better understanding before my shiur tonight on WebYeshiva.

I look forward to your comments.

Here is the audio shiur (and the pdf sheets to download if you want).

Parshat Vayishlach - The Divine Within

(Right click and then 'download as')

Parshat Vayishlach - The Divine Within - source sheet

Your feedback is welcome and appreciated. I would love to continue giving a shiur to this group on a weekly basis, but to do that I would need some kind of sponsorship. If anyone is interested in sponsoring a shiur (either l'ilui nishmat someone, or just for no reason) please contact me.

1 comment:

  1. I was surprised you didn't quote the famous (thanks to some songwriter) Zohar (Acharei Mos 83a) "דתנינן ג' דרגין אינון מתקשרן דא בדא קודשא בריך הוא אורייתא וישראל."

    As for Yaaqov and Emes, I once blogged the following: When we get to Yaaqov, we find a synthesis of the two. Yaaqov’s avodas Yashem is identified with “titen emes leYaaqov, give truth to Yaaqov”, “veYaaqov ish tam yosheiv ohalim, and Yaaqov was a pure/whole man, who dwelled in tents” and chazal add: in tents of study. Yaaqov worshipped G-d by studying what was known so far of His Torah, by trying to understand him. This love through understanding the other is also what we find at the end of his life, when Yaaqov blesses each son according to that son’s personal strengths and weaknesses. This focus on the essence of the individual might be how Yaaqov succeeded keeping all of his sons within the proto-Jewish fold, while Avraham and Yitzchaq only were able to succeed with one of their sons.

    See the Orchos Tzadiqim's shaar 7 on rachamim: ואף המגדל יתום, שנאמר עליו (שמות כב כא): "כל אלמנה ויתום לא תענון" – מצווה להלקותו בכדי ליישרו לדרך ישרה. אף על פי כן צריך לנהל היתום ברחמים יותר משאר כל אדם, אך לא יניחהו לילך בשרירות לבו. וגם צריך שלא ירחם על עצמו יותר מדי, אלא צריך לייסר עצמו ולכוף יצרו הרע. וכן ירחם על קרוביו העניים, כדכתיב (ישעיהו נח ז): "ומבשרך לא תתעלם". וגם על העניים ירחם, וביותר ירחם על יראי השם. וזהו עיקר הרחמנות – החונן והמרחם עובדי השם והעושים רצונו.

    Rachamim comes from knowing the other (emes) well enough to know when the greater Chesed is Gevurah.