Parshas Vayeitzei

Note: The Shabbos Torah Reading is divided into 7 sections. Each section is called an Aliya [literally: Go up] since for each Aliya, one person “goes up” to make a bracha [blessing] on the Torah Reading.1st Aliya: Yakov experiences the famed prophecy of “Jacob’s Ladder”.

2nd Aliya: Yakov arrives in Charan, encounters Rachel, and contracts with Lavan for her hand in marriage.

3rd Aliya: Lavan switches Leah for Rachel forcing Yakov to negotiate another 7 years of service for Rachel. Leah gives birth to Reuven, Shimon, Levi, and Yehudah. Rachel marries off Bilhah to Yakov who gives birth to Dan and Naftoli. Leah marries off Zilpah to Yakov, and she gives birth to Gad and Asher.

4th Aliya: Rachel contracts with Leah for Reuven’s mandrakes, after which Leah gives birth to Yisachar and Zevulen. Rachel finally gives birth to Yoseph, and Yakov approaches Lavan to negotiate a proper salary for continued service.

5th Aliya: Yakov’s uses his vast knowledge of nature and husbandry to amass a fortune in sheep and cattle. After 6 years he decides with Rachel and Leah to flee from Lavan.

6th Aliya: They flee and Lavan catches them. Hashem (G-d) intervenes and Yakov, while confronting Lavan for his years of duplicity, unwittingly curses Rachel.

7th Aliya: Yakov and Lavan separate and Yakov arrives at the border of Canaan in 2205.


Haftorah Vayeitzei

The Haftorah for Parshas Vayeitzei is from Hosea 12:13-14:10. Following the death of Shlomo Hamelech, the kingdom was divided between his son Rechavam, and Yiravam ben Nivat from the tribe of Ephrayim. Yiravam was a man of extraordinary potential who had it within his power to join with Rechavam, unite the two kingdoms, and bring Mashiach. Instead, he enacted legislature that earned him the title Chotay U’machate – one who sins and causes others to sin. This is why he Talmud relished him among those individuals who have lost their portion in Olam Habaah – the World To Come. His greatest sin was erecting two golden calves, one in the north of Israel and one in the south of Israel, where the people were encouraged to serve the idols rather than go to the Bais Hamikdash. The prophet cried out against this terrible defection from Hashem and prophesied the destruction and exile of the 10 Tribes that followed Yiravam and the tribe of Ephrayim.

The relationship to our Parsha is obvious from the first Pasuk (verse) of the Haftorah that describes Yakov’s journey to Aram in search of a wife. However, the connection is much more profound. As free willed creations, our decisions force Hashem to adjust events so that destiny is best accomplished. The end result will always be as Hashem intended, but the events leading to that moment can be more circuitous and convoluted than necessary. In the case of Yakov vs. Eisav and Yiravam vs. Rechavam, the actions of men forced Hashem to make accommodations. In each instance, a partnership could have been forged that would have strengthened the leadership of the nation and ushered in the Messianic era. Instead, Eisav and Yiravam refused to serve Hashem and distanced themselves and their generation from redemption.

The last Pasuk states clearly that there are many ways for destiny to be accomplished. Man’s way, devoid of G-d, leads to pain, sorrow, and destruction. Hashem’s way, which is righteous, proper, wise , and direct, leads to healing, love, and prosperity. The ways of Hashem are pleasant, loving, caring, and respectful. Imagine how different history would have been, and how wonderful the future should be!