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Rabbi's Message, Shabbat Vayishlach

11/19/2021 10:43:35 AM


Rabbi Benjamin Samuels

The story is told that once when a principal of a day school went to consult with his Rosh Yeshiva about expelling a student, the great rabbi surprised him by asking: "What is the name of the student's mother?"

The bewildered principal asked: "Why is that important?"

The Rav answered: "Are telling me that you are considering expelling a student, but you have not yet davened for him?!"

In this week’s parashah, Yaakov reunites with his estranged brother Esav. Yaakov didn’t know what to expect. Rashi teaches that Yaakov prepared in three ways: “doron (presents), milchamah (war) and tefillah (prayer). Yet when bringing a prooftext for each one, Rashi switches the order to “doron, tefilah, vemilchamah - presents, prayer, and war.” Why switch the order and place tefillah in the middle?

My beloved teacher Rabbi Meyer Juzint zt”l explains in his sefer Nechmas Meyer that tefillah is the bridge between hishtadlus (effort) and bitachon (faith). When Yaakov prepared the doron (presents), he davened it would be successful; and when he prepared for war, he also davened that it would be successful. Rabbi Juzint would always say: “Do your best and God will do the rest!” Our tefillot root our efforts in our faith, hope, and optimism.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rav Benjie

Sat, December 10 2022 16 Kislev 5783