Midreshet Amit


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Parshat Vayeitzei

By: Sophia Brener, Mushkie Meyer

In this week’s parsha, Vayeitze, Yaacov leaves his home town of Be’er Sheva, and travels to Charan to live in the house of his uncle Lavan. There he falls in love with Lavan’s daughter Rachel and agrees to work seven years in order to marry her. On the night of their wedding, Yaacov’s deceitful uncle Lavan tricks him and switches the bride. Yaakov marries Leah, Lavan’s eldest daughter, and has to work another seven years to marry Rachel, but marries her just one week later. Far away from his home, Yaacov establishes 11 of his 12 sons from 4 wives.

Yaacov returns to Eretz Israel exceedingly wealthy, with a loyal family. Why is it that Avraham and Yitzhak spent their whole lives in the land of Israel, serving Hashem, and both suffered from rebellious children? How is it that Yaacov achieved perfect offspring outside of the land, living in a house of idol worship and dishonesty?

While Yaacov was a tzadik, he also possessed the spiritual advantage of a ba’al teshuva – those who struggle with evil and manage to overcome it. This quality began to express itself once Yaacov had departed from Israel and joined Lavan in Charan. When being in Charan, Yaacov was forced to integrate  into a corrupt world and at the same time build a family and deal with business honestly. This brought out Yaacov’s abilities as a spiritual fighter.

Looking at our other forefathers, we see how they expelled sources of evil within them rather than fight and overcome them. Avraham banished Yishmael from his household, turning him against our people and the same could be said with Yitzhak and Eisav.

Yaacov had the ability to fight evil while living in Charan, where he would fight the evil of his surroundings. He also learned how to eliminate any potential evil within his family.

We should all learn from our forefather Yaacov that evil is all around us and in order to be practicing and loyal Jews we must fight it rather than ignore it. Our yetzer hara is not just within us, but it’s in all aspects of our lives, in our environment and our surroundings. By learning how to control our desires and fight those wrong inclinations we too can fight the potential evil within.