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by Daneal Weiner

From the Orchards of the U.S.S.D.

You haven't forgotten the `ol United Soviet Socialist Republic, have you? Well I'm writing to you from the new Un-united Sabra Socialist Democratic. Only in Israel can one man bring the country to a halt at the cost of an estimated 200.000.000 NIS and all in the name of the people! Not the average people who were suffering the country over, but in the name of the people whose annual income is 64-135% more then the average people who were doing the suffering!

Baruch Hashem, I'm in Yeshiva all day. I never read a paper or listen to the radio. Last week I began to notice that the garbage seemed to be piling up. After yet another day I asked someone if there was a strike going on? I eventually found out that there was. Why? The union pilfered all the pension funds and they wanted the Government to foot the bill. The last Government said, "Sure! Why not?" (A LABOR Govt. promising billions to a LABOR Histadrut/union is merely coincidence) The present Government, specifically the Minister of Finance, called such idiocy a time bomb which would bankrupt the country. Histadrut, insulted for being called a time bomb, they...went off! Now there's a reason for a strike!

Another scud missile attack would have been easier to handle because then the country would only have been paralysed by night. So the Minister of Finance apologized for calling the laborers a `name'. The apology wasn't accepted! Now there's a reason for a strike!

Since it was against the law to strike the States Attorney is filing suit against Histadrut. Who he thinks is going to pay is beyond me. Who pilfered all the missing funds? We don't ask such questions here in the land of the free and the home of the more free than others.

What is the real reason for the strike? To try and bring down a Government that is pro-Torah. They may not keep every promise but they are not looking for loopholes to bring pork into the country and to give gentiles Jewish citizenship. The only problem with the lesser of two evils being in control is that the greater evil is out of control. And speaking of evil and the battle for control-

This brings us right into this weeks

Parshas Vayishlach

wherein lies the ultimate showdown between good and evil and how to be victorious. Over the millennia, whenever the Sages were forced into the arena to do battle by way of debate or called into the courts to defend the masses they would study this parshas intimately because all Eisav has to attack with is in this parsha. [I want to apologize for not getting around to something I promised last week, why Eisav's angel only came to fight Yaakov and not Avraham or Yitschak.]

Last week's surviving twenty years by Lavan was no small feat. In fact, for Yaakov Aveinu it was a tremendous feat. On his way down to Lavan, Yaakov was worthy of a Nevuah about angels. On his way out he came face to face with angels. By `accepting' everything that Lavan threw at him, Yaakov emerged an unimaginable force.

Rav Avigdor Miller, shlitah, says we learn from here that no matter how much aggravation we might get from our spouses- and he's talking about those cases of 'round the clock aggravation- the job of the Jew is to accept it. Any good mussar class will tell you that anyway but the point Rav Miller is making here is that the rewards for accepting such a situation are tremendous. (Granted, much easier said than done, but if I say it enough times...)

These parshas are nothing but "ma'aseh Avos simon l'banim", "the actions of the fathers are a indication of events for the children." Yaakov going to Lavan's was his descendants going down into Egypt all the way through to his and our the grand exodus. Both times after 3 days Lavan/Pharaoh began the chase and overtook us on the 7th day. Tsaddikim explain that Yaakov was drawing all the sparks of holiness out of Lavan and since he left some G-d caused Lavan to chase after him to give over the few remaining sparks. It's the opposite of what we saw last week, Rachel and Leah ridding themselves of tumah. So why didn't Yaakov just hang around to get the last few sparks while he was there?

Rav Wolfson explains again "ma'aseh Avos simon l'banim", Yaakov's leaving Lavan at that moment was B'nai Yisrael leaving Egypt at the 49th gate of tumah. If Yaakov stayed longer the Jews in Egypt would have stayed longer and thereby fallen to the 50th gate. Moshe Rabbeinu, being the leader of B'nai Yisrael, merited reaching the 49th gate of bina/understanding. So if that's all Yaakov wanted, why did Lavan need to give him the rest? Because Yaakov's actions are an indication for all history, till the end. At that final meeting Yaakov took from Lavan all that paralleled the 50th gate for the end of days when we would fall to the 50th gate from which we will merit the leader who himself will merit the 50th gate of Binah. We are in the 50th gate and we are waiting every day! Bimhayrah biyamainu!

We had a glimpse of this in Vayairah, verse (19:1), "And Lot who was sitting at the gate of S'dom..." They made him a judge. His appointment was a manifestation of that spark of the ultimate leader buried deep within. The langauge of the verse is "v'Lot yoshev b'sha'ar S'dom." The word `yoshev' is written lacking a vav. It could be read `yashav' but tradition tells us to read it `yoshev.' On the surface, the way it/Lot appears, without the vav, these 4 words have the gematria of 1039 which equals "chamishim sha'aray tum'ah", "50 gates of Tuma." But what's really there, the way its really read with the vav, the 4 words have a gematria of 1045 which equals "chamishim sha'aray bina", "50 gates of understanding."

So Yaakov has all that we need and now he's on his way to meet up with Eisav. Yaakov sends a couple angels ahead to Eisav with a message. "I lived by Lavan and delayed till now and I have to me oxen, donkeys, sheep, men and maid servants..." What's the funny language `I have to me'? Rashi says Yaakov's message is that Yitschak blessed him with the dew of heaven and the fats of the land and this property isn't from heaven or earth. Rashi, if they aren't from heaven or earth, where are they from? A hat? Green stamps?

Back to last weeks parsha. Even though we explained what Yaakov was doing by Lavan, what was he doing by Lavan? 14 years he worked for his family and then 6 years for sheep. So he wanted the leaders of the tribes of B'nai Yisrael, the makings of a holy people, the children of G-d, shall I say, a nation of priests and then.....he wanted the biggest sweater collection that side of the Missippottammia!? Maybe he just looooved lamb chops! Before the lightning strikes I better explain. (By the way, this was the first Rav Wolfson Torah I ever heard so everyone wish me a happy anniversary. And please, PLEASE- no gifts.)

Yaakov had a prophecy and an Angel of G-d appears to him and says (31:12) "Raise your eyes and look at the sheep.." Chances are the best place to see sheep would be looking down. There must be something spiritually big going on with these sheep if Yakov sees them looking up! Rav Wolfson explains from the holy books of great Chassidic Rabbis that these sheep were incarnations of sorts of all the souls of Bna'a'a'a'i Yisrael. Chazal do disppute if Yaakov left with 600,000 sheep or 600,000 flocks of sheep. The obvious point is the corelation to the 600,000 souls of Israel. So how do we all end up, or rather, start out as a sheep? I can tell you what I think. Not that it's worth it's weight in wool, but putting together enough pieces, I didn't have to make any big jumps surmise the following scenario.

We know that reincarnation/gilgulim exist and that a soul doesn't only come back as another human. In worst cases a soul can come back in an inanimate object. It is not the object but imprisoned in it, Not as bad cases would be imprisonment in a plant, then an animal. Those better off can be reincarnated into a non-Jew and best of the worst cases, as a Jew.

There are stories abound and a close friend of mine will testify to his own about a cat that followed him for days. He'd leave the house in the morning and the cat was there. After shul or getting off at the bus stop at the end of the day the cat was there. After telling a few friends and making a few inquiries, the next time he saw the cat he said, "I forgive you!" He never saw it again. So piece A is knowing souls can return in animals.

Piece B; (for emphasis) they get into animals due to sins.

Piece C; Who are the Jewish people? We are a people with the task of making H' known in the world or to bring the world to it's perfected state. Two ways of saying basically the same thing. The Point: We were not the first to have this job!

Piece D; Adam was the first one with this job. He did not succeed. His descendants now had this job. By the generation of the Flood it was apparent that they didn't succeed. Now the descendants of Noach had the job. By the Generation of the Dispersion we see they weren't so successful either. We take from this the fact that there were all these people/souls with our same job.

With these 4 pieces, the only jump I have to make is to say that the souls with this job were `put aside' to eventually be the souls of the Jewish people who'd continue with the work. The only problem is that coming from the generations of the Flood and the Dispersion, these souls hadn't done too well for themselves. They didn't deserve a human form. Their first return performance as the future souls of Israel was as sheep under the auspices of Yaakov Aveinu who, as we saw last week by the 2 angels of Sodom, was going to be their reparation, to elevate them, to allow them to come back as Jews! Yaakov also has oxen, donkeys, camels, men and maid servants, all of which must also be part of this accounting, as we'll see shortly.

As it turns out, this jump I made is not a jump at all because as soon as we get to Shmos we'll find out that the Jews thrown into the nile were reincarnations of the people who died in the Flood and due to the enormity of their sins, drowning once wasn't enough! Their souls and our souls were one in the same. So in actuality it does not seem I am making any jumps rather simply putting all the pieces together and looking at the picture they make. I, of course, knew this which is why I told it to you. I'm not going to waste your time with my imagination. Except maybe this next paragraph.

Tangentially, by the Generation of the Dispersion, not everyone was dispersed. 1/3 were dispersed, 1/3 died, and 1/3 were turned into monkeys. I saw this only once and a long time ago but it made an impression because it answered the problem of the gaps in the fossil records between man and ape. (I think it was in the Me'am Loez.) You can ask about the carbon dating of the fossils putting the apes long before mankind. Carbon dating is a scientific method and if the science world has proven anything it's that in 5 years they'll prove everything they've said previously was wrong. Also, if that's not enough, the boiling waters of the flood would have altered everything anyway. Yes, the monkey fossils would have come after the Flood but if carbon dating is based on the half life of the carbon content, G-d might have had the flood alter the `nature' of the half life process or just given the new chimps an old genetic make-up to be able to get a few laughs down the road. My point in dragging you through this babble is to say that the third which died could have been the souls put aside for the Jewish people whereas the monkeys were put aside for utility companies. In a bold and daring attempt to get back on track...

Now we can understand the strange language Yaakov used ("I have to me") and Rashi. Yaakov Aveinu was telling Eisav "What I have is me. My descendants. All who would come from me. Not anything from the heavens or earth, like the blessing promised, which was originally destined to go to you. So far I've gained nothing."

Eisav is not appeased by this claim and the angels report back he's coming with 400 men. An interesting figure being the same number of years Avraham was told his children would be strangers in a strange land which Yaakov just `symbolically' ended. Yaakov prepares for war. [I heard tape on dealing with anger, I in which the speaker scrutinized over the differences between Lavan's anger and how Yaakov dealt with it versus Eisav's anger and how Yaakov dealt with it. Anyone in the field might enjoy and find sound advice in these two sections.]

Part of Yaakov's preparations is further attempt at appeasement. He sends Eisav an gift from his possessions. How could he do such a thing? We just said that every creature contains sparks of Klal Yisrael and he gives some over to the tumah of Eisav???

"HaSoton" the Soton, has a gematria of 364. There are 365 days in a year. The message is that G-d gave us one day off, Yom Kippur. But we're not off scott free. We throw the Soton `a bone'. During the Yom Kippur service two se'irim, goats are taken. One se'ir is designated for Hashem and the other is designated for `azazel'- the Soton's home address. The Ohr Hachaim points out that adding up all the animals listed which were given over to Eisav, the sum total is 580, the same gematria as "se'ir".

In the time of Eliyahu, he set up a `test' between an alter of H' and an alter to the idolatry sweeping Israel. Two cows were brought forward. (the reincarnations, by the way, of Dasan and Aviram.) The cow for Hashem was ready to go. The cow for the idol wouldn't budge. Eliyahu asked what's up? It said, "I just drank from the same trough as him and he gets to sanctify G-d's name while I'll get wasted on idol!?" Eliyahu said, "Whereas he will sanctify G-d's name by being accepted, you will sanctify G-d's name by not being accepted." The cow went willingly.

599,420 souls were designated to sanctify G-d's name being born as Jews. 580 were to sanctify G-d's name by breaking out of the bondages of Eisav and returning to the flock. How did Yaakov choose which? He didn't. The verse says (32:14) "He [Yaakov] took that which came into his hand..." Not came back by Lavan. We know that already. Right now they came into his hand. The volunteers stepped forward. Tehillim (72:10) "The kings of Tarshish will return gifts..." If they are gifts, shouldn't it say `give'? Kings are generally not ones to return anything. The allusion in the verse is that they will be unknowingly returning that which was originally part of us.

In turn, Eisav got what was originally his. Leah prayed not to have to marry Eisav. We see the power that prayer has to be able to overturn decrees. Yaakov is held responsible that when he met up with Eisav he hid his daughter Dina. Chazal say that the wife influences the ways of the husband. Eisav could have done tshuva. This is a remarkable complaint! Who looks for the biggest rasha in the world to marry their daughter in hopes of making the husband a Ba'al Tshuva???

When Yaakov said all I have is me, an extension of me, there was one out of everything that wasn't. Leah. A soul is split into male and female and at marriage it is re-united. This applied to Yaakov and Rachel. Not to Yaakov and Leah. On Yaakov's level he should have known at least give the extension of Leah, her daughter Dina, to Eisav and perhaps the Gemorah is a consolation rather than an excuse, that she would bring him to do Tshuva. As it turns out, Dina is kidnapped by Eisav's extension, Shchem and she is raped. A debt was paid in the worst way rather than the best. The child concieved by Dina that night was a daughter who ended up in Epypt to marry Yoseph and mothering two tribes, Ephraim and Menashe.

Dina would have gone over to Eisav but what came back was Yehoshua, a descendant of Ephraim. The Parsha starts out `Vayishlach' the same letters as `Vayichalash' as in `Vayichalash Yehoshua es Amaleik'- `And Yehoshua weakened Amaleik.' Amaleik, a descendant of Eisav. The battle of the children of good versus evil as indicated by the actions of our forefather in the parsha.

This parsha is the 8th in the Chumash and is overflowing with allusions to Chanukah and allusions to allusions to Chanukah as Rav Wolfson points out, `Vayishlach Yehoshua' = 745 = `Nairot Chanukah'. There will be more in the special Chanukah issue, b'ez'H'.

Finally and appropriately enough, a terrific piece from last years Ohrnet. This weeks haftorah is Ovadia. A prophet who is a convert from the descendants of Eisav, Edom. His prophecy follows Edom through history till it's judgement day. Last week, Yaakov's ladder had the angels of the four kingdoms who exiled us climbing the number of rungs as was the length of their exiles and then falling off. Edoms angel just kept climbing! Ovadia tells us Hashem comforted Yaakov saying (1:4), "If he will rise up like an eagle and if he will make his nest among the stars- even from there I will bring him down."

It was 1969 when the world tuned in to hear, "Houston, this is Tranquility base. The Eagle has landed." Which was soon followed by, "We have the technology. We can do anything!" As soon as one starts thinking that it's usually the beginning of the end. They thought that. From the stars they've been falling ever since.

The secret for us staying on top is have a soaring Shabbot Shalom.

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