Longing For The Redemption – Yaakov Lives

Yaakov has been separated from his son Yosef for twenty two years, after revealing himself to his brothers as the king of Egypt Yaakov descends to Egypt and is reunited with Yosef. Yaakov’s life apart from Yosef was one of pain and sadness, and he knew no rest. The divine presence was not present with him; he did not attain prophesy. In Egypt where Yaakov lives for seventeen years he was full of joy and tranquility; the divine presence was with him, and he was (according to a hidden Zohar text) in a state of the highest levels of prophesy.

Yet, the Midrash Rabah teaches that Yaakov was not able to teach his children of the vision he saw of the end of days, and the life of Yaakov in Egypt represented the beginning of the exile, which truly took more shape when he died. Surrounding Yaakov at this time was not tranquility, but uncertainty. Not brighter days, but dark clouds of forewarning. The Midrash Rabah teaches that Yaakov was in such bliss because the troubles of the world were hidden to him. How are we to understand the Tzaddik Yaakov being in such a removed state from the reality of the world around him? How can Yaakov allow himself to be blind to the pain of the creation? It seems as if Yaakov is only bothered by his pain; when Yosef is lost from him for twenty two years he suffers tremendously, although the world is not in calamity, but when the world is heading for darkness he is tranquil and blissful, because he has Yosef. Is the Tzaddik we want to emulate one who only feels for his personal issues?

Of course we must understand that we cannot judge Yaakov, but rather learn from him. I am reminded of the story of Rabbi Akiva who upon witnessing a fox on the site of the recently destroyed temple in Jerusalem laughs. He laughs because this is the fulfillment of an ancient prophesy and he realizes that just as this prophesy of utter destruction is playing out fully, so too the prophesies of redemption will be in their time. Yaakov reconnecting to Yosef was the guarantee of redemption, and therefore all the pain of the thousands of years of exiles and sufferings were somehow not worth being sad for, or even became sweet. There is a secret that even the most painful, horrible tragedies will all be for the good.

Yaakov wanted to teach his children how it will be good, when will it finally be good. He wanted to write it down so that I could look and say to my children “don’t worry mashiach is coming very soon”, but he was seemingly forbidden to do so. I would also like to tell my clients sometimes the perspective that would open up their stories of suffering to redemptive light, but to do so would be unproductive. We cannot be shown the answer until we are ready, we need to do the work of exile, and development of Tikkun Olam ourselves. We can only imagine God longing and yearning to tell us “it’s OK, I love you, it’s goin to be alright”, but he holds himself back so that we might be adult enough to take responsibility and rectify our world. This is the secret of all the pain of the world.

The sweetness of redemption was never totally hidden, the righteous Tzadikim are here to whisper God’s comforting messages to us. The Torah tells us to wait just a little longer, and even in our Parsha the first words are Vayechi Yaakov Bieretz Mitzrayim – And Yaakov lived in the land of Egypt, Yaakov lived! He lived joyfully, he lived in bliss, because he saw the redemption, and it so good.

Dating & Marriage 101
– When an issue comes up during dating or during marriage ask can I accept the other even through this. Is this something we can grow together through working it out. Block out the pain of the moment by recognizing the sweetness that comes from overcoming together.
Once my wife and were in a painful disagreement and called up or Rebbe, he brought salve and salvation with the words: “You are arguing, because you love each other so much”.

The Jewish Thinking Man’s Guide To Dating

Dating is a great way to get married… unless you are doing it wrong. Here is the Jewish Thinking Man’s Guide To Dating as I learnt it from my father, with additional pieces thrown in on which he has not been consulted.

Every Jewish match is the right one. There is a specific match for you predetermined before your birth and this person you marry. End of discussion.

However as you are wondering and questioning, yes its not that simple. You need to do some qualifying. Why? Because that is what Eliezer did in the Torah. When Eliezer was sent by Avraham to find a match for Yitzchak, prior to entering the village he was instructed to go to he made a deal with God. The deal was, the woman who offers to give water to him and his camels is the match for Yitzchak.

Eliezer made a qualifying condition so he would know who was the person God intended Yitzchak to marry. We learn that we are also to make qualifications for a potential spouse. Therefore do not say “I will know the right one”, or worse “I will feel when I have met the right one”.

How do you do this?
Make a list for yourself of at least ten qualifying conditions for a match. These are specific, and discovered by inner questioning.

Here are some questions to ask yourself should you find it difficult to create this list:

  1. How tall?
  2. What language must she speak?
  3. Must she have a similar culture to you?
  4. Must she be organised?
  5. Spiritual?
  6. Wealthy?
  7. What expectations should she have of income?
  8. Occupation?
  9. Halachik observance?
  10. Desire to have a large family?
  11. What community does she want to live in?
  12. Where will your kids go to school?

Important note: Being attractive should not be on this list. Why not? A woman is attractive to her husband when he is thinking positively about her, when he is not she does not appear attractive to him. Therefore attraction is not dependent on the woman, but on the man and is not for this list.

Now that you have your list break the list down into two lists. One list are Deal-Breakers, i.e if one of the items on the list was not present the match is off, and the other list are Important-Preferences. Deal-Breakers should have at least five and no more than ten entries, and Important-Preferences can have another ten.

After getting to know a woman on a few dates consult the list to determine whether she matches your Deal-Breaker list, if she matches the entire list then you may be ready to propose.

1. You never want to edit the list after meeting a date, this is too prone to bias, and ruins the agreement you are making with God (as per Eliezer).
2. Poeple are complex and this is a simple set of instructions. Seek personal guidance.

Sh’ma B’ni Musar Avicha, V’all Titosh Torat I’mecha

Yaakov settled in the land of his fathers, the Land Of Canaan.
Bereishit Rabah teaches: Like a man who is sitting amongst a pack of wild dogs. He was sitting amongst the descendants of Eisav.
Further: He was following his fathers path of teaching students; of bringing Torah into the world; of bringing his Chachma down into the world. Migayeir Geirim (Converting others) is similar to Migurei Aviv (The land of his fathers).

Fearful of the growth of his mighty brother Yaakov strengthened himself with spreading Godly light; wisdom. With this he built his own camp.

Rebbe Natan Breslover teaches that Yaakov wanted to serve Hashem, as his fathers did……..and that we all find ourselves in this stunning verse, we are all looking to serve Hashem like our fathers…………

We are so connected to our parents. I believe this is a special type of Teshuva to go back to the Torah of our fathers. Sh’ma B’ni Musar Avicha, V’all Titosh Torat I’mecha, My son, listen deep to lessons of your father, and beware of abandoning the Torah of your mother.
The father gives us our first concept of God. Our mother, our first concept of the All Loving Shechina.

Take a moment to heal and bring the light of Hashem into our relationship with our Father and Mother.

Our beliefs and minds were imprinted first by our parents. From them we received trust, acceptance, personal space, the goodness of people, the beauty of our souls.

And remember Chazal teach that we picked our parents. They are the most perfect parents for you.

Eleh Toldot Yaakov Yosef, (These are the offspring of Yaakov, Yosef)

We all know that Avraham had Yishmael, Yitzchak – Eisav, but Yaakov? He had a Yosef……. psshhhhhhh Yosef was mamesh a copy of Yaakov. The Medrish teaches all the things they were similar. Mamesh everything that happened to Yaakov happened to Yosef.
He is like the perfection. The Torah teaches this with a mashal:

A coal man is watching a flax man riding his flax camel into the city, the coal man wonders out loud “How is the flax man with his huge flax loaded camel going to fit into the gate?” A wisecracker responds “One spark from your coals can reduce the mountain of flax to nothing”.
Eisav is the flax, Yaakov the coal, and Yosef the spark.

So we something very strange though…. The Torah also teaches (Bereishit Rabah) that Yaakov wanted to live in peace, so the fury of Yosef was sprung on him! Rashi explains – Tzadikim want to live in tranquility, Hashem therefore rules that they have so much good in the world to come it is not fit to have such tranquility in this world.

What does this mean? Was Yaakov looking for an easy life?

This really the same thing. We all want to serve Hashem, to do teshuva, to be whole with our parents, to change the world. We want to be great! Mamesh Great!
The only way is through a Yosef. Yosef goes down into slavery – Yosef goes into the deepest work that there is to be done in our souls!! Tzadikim want the next world! – They totally want the will of Hashem. They have already made it, but they need the Yosef going in this world through all the darkest places.

What is the most important character trait to look for in a spouse?

To answer first consider another question.

What is the mission statement of marriage?

I.e. what is the goal of marriage?

A suggestion:
Yaakov is mamesh the highest, he is the most shalem, he is emet – truth, he is so whole and perfect and the midah that expresses that into the world is Yosef. Yosef is Yesod, foundation, purity, finding security in Hashem.
When we marry we are completing ourselves. We are taking ourselves to the place where we can be whole. The goal of marriage is the goal of our lives – to be great. To be our highest selves.
As Rashi teaches when we want to be whole (following the Torah of our fathers), living in tranquility, then the fury of Yosef jumps on us.
So then the most important trait is the willingness to grow through challenge. To be wrong, to stand corrected.
My suggestion is to marry someone ready to grow.