Rabbi David Pesach Katz
Baal Haturim: "The end letters of 'Jacob from Beer Sheva' equates to 'Ever' [Grandson of Shem]…as [Jacob was] buried [in study within the] Study Hall [Beis Midrash] of Ever; 'From Beer Sheva' – [under the same rules of equation] equates to Shem ['s Study Hall] as well."
[Bereishit 10:25 – in regards to Ever's ability to prophecy through the giving of his son's name "Peleg"] …A Great Prophet was Ever… [For he was named "Peleg" (division)...and so the World was divided…]
Welcome to the Parsha that literally began off the page deep in the Study Hall of Ever grandson of Shem; the Torah of Mazal and Emunah can finally begin.
The Torah until this point has been utterly profound, as we walked through Creation while becoming familiar with perhaps Hashem's most intimate Name [Elokim], and trekked all the way through a World's redemption, capping it off with the almost literal birth of the Ger Tzedek through the patriarchs. We saw many heroes and potential villains, even clarifying ancient history by restoring out of place context [Esau]. Let's not leave out the fall and full restoration of the righteous woman/women of history, and every other gemstone of essential truth that we can trace back in the Torah's opening chapters. However this Parsha is existentially different, for Jacob is existentially different, as he is "the choicest of the forefathers."
As a companion to the Shechinah in both the Upper and Lower Worlds, the most significant aspect of all, is his historic introduction to Truth, Torah, and Emunah that are all soaked within the ink of the pen that knows only that of Mazal – Hashem in motion alongside Man. This is the Torah of Ever, and its message is the enlightenment that comes by way of Names, speech, and every other prophetic tool that emanates out of the heart of Man. As the Talmud says, there is no [lower] Mazal to Israel, but there [certainly] is [upper] Mazal to Israel, and our Parsha practically if not literally defines it through Jacob…for "Jacob was buried in the house of Ever [as he left Beer Sheva]."
Now that we have covered/introduced "The Torah [concept] of Ever" – there is further detail one can incorporate in the guise of Jacob's development, mazal – and – names, Torah of Shem [now with proper focus], the Torah of Emunah, and perception of extraordinary depth to a Torah that is generally seen shallow in content.
In Parashas Toldos the acute premise was depicted as Esau was the more developed [Man] Servant of God as seen through his efficiency in prayer [in the field, a place of Emunah as a spiritual diet], tithing, and knowledge of Kabbalah and names, while Jacob was the simple man who was quietly prospering in the tents of Shem, unnoticed by his superiors and peers. Interestingly enough this same dynamic exists today in the yeshiva establishment, as the beginner [although seeking to build and grow naturally and properly over a long duration and commitment of time] is often, if not always overlooked by the quick witted student who flourishes quickly, while developing the skill to perceive the appropriate protocol, even if by defying time and space. This was the grave error made by Isaac when assessing the spiritual stature of his two young men. Yet as the story would have it, Esau did in fact reach his premature ceiling, as Jacob was just getting started with serving Hashem!
By the end of last Parsha, coupled with the thick content of Vayeitzei, we see that Jacob has vastly grown into spiritual manhood, becoming superior to the levels that Esau had aspired to grasp. Jacob is now a proper Man of the field, and the context within the script, is that he certainly was seeking the nourishment [like Isaac] from the prayer of the field. He is seen early on making self-sacrifice to frequent the future Temple Mount [site of the dream, opening to the Heavenly academy of Shem, etc.] and offers to Hashem a promise to properly tithe should the Blessings flow his way. To accompany these Blessings, Jacob is given the wisdom [that we will see later on] to make an eternal impression upon the spiritual World, such that was can actually envision Esau's spurned Birthright residing intimately alongside Jacob. These are all qualities, not only of the Torah of Shem, but the Torah of Ever as well, for Jacob will come to personify this prophetic tone through his sons, the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
As we all know, Jacob merited to receive his Twelve Sons through Four Righteous Wives, and the House of Israel was quickly formed from this spiritual wealth. Mentioned above in accordance with Ever is the art of prophecy through Names, and messages in language in general, as Rebecca said, "Listen IN my voice…" The examples and Divine Wisdom latent in the Tribal names are endless, as they even make up the content of the Kohen Gadol's breastplate!
One great example of the voice of the Shechinah emanating from the twelve sacred names, is if we take the Mazal [spiritual content that surrounded each birth during its term and birth, as if to define the soul of the child through the revealed reality in perception of each parent involved] of each defining/revealing statement made at each birth, we can hear the voice of the Shechinah saying [as if responding to God], "…Because God has seen my humiliation, for now my husband will love me [the Tzaddik]. God heard that I was unloved and therefore He has given me this son also. This time my husband will become attached to me for I have borne him three sons. I will gratefully praise God. God has judged me and He has heard my voice and given me a son. Sacred irony/schemes have I maneuvered to equal, my sister and I have prevailed. Good fortune has come. In my good fortune, women have deemed me fortunate. God has granted my reward because I gave my maidservant to my husband. God has endowed me with good endowment and now my husband will make his permanent home with me. God has taken away my disgrace and may God add another son. Have no fear for this son is also for you…for in the end the son of my sorrow will become the son of my right hand. [In the name of Yosef ben Avraham Indomenico]
There are many other examples of the greatness pouring out of the Tribal names that clearly point out the Torah, Mazal, Shechinah, and inspiration of Shem and Ever, once we look for the Wisdom and Mazal that prophetically is bonded with every name in the World. An example of this is the Reuven, as his name is the essence of repentance, Firstborn rights, relationship with Messiah son of Joseph, and his anti-Esau approach to life. Reuven was thus destined to live the "Reuven-Program"; it was Mazal that led to his name, and his free-will achieved his destiny from Emunah [Torah of Ever 101]. Another example of Mazal/Torah Ever is found beautifully in Judah's name – through the union of Shem – Hashem and the letter "dalet." Leah realized she should thank God for her fourth son and destined attachment to Jacob; Judah's name is essentially God's name with a perfectly placed dalet, signifying the fourth son [dalet=4 in gematria] and perfect harmony with the newly formed word within God's name "Hod" – meaning to thank. Thus Judah's name once opened up becomes as if oozing with Mazal, and as we know, this was the merit that he should earn the Kingship, through this letter dalet/4, also signaling to the future Judah-ite, King David [yet another dalet reference].
This not only works for all the Tribes, but every name that ever came/comes into existence is latent with Mazal and wisdom on the same level as seen in Reuven and Judah, and as given by Jacob and Leah. This is the Torah of Ever, it is found in the Torah of Moses, works perfect in the Torah of Shem [Torah of Life], and most importantly, we all have it in ourselves! The Torah appropriately teaches how all of Mankind can harness this Wisdom, and live a spiritual life with Hashem, and embrace our Mazal moments [in revelation, as opposed to becoming accustomed to kissing them goodbye without notice].
Wherever we find the Torah of Ever we can expect to find the Torah of Shem [as evidenced in the Baal HaTurim above]. The clear example of this in our Parsha comes over two segments – Jacob's he-goats and his garments and bread he received by God's Blessings. To express this, let's start to properly love the Ger; like Jacob, give him bread and garment.
God did not simply manifest a garment and a morsel of bread before Jacob and peacefully leave him alone; to do so, would be an action similar to God's curse upon the snake. What we did see however, was that God blessed Jacob with the Torah of Shem – a Torah of Life. Jacob received garment and bread through massive enterprise [in the house of Lavan] and sublime wisdom. No longer were the secrets of Creation withheld from Jacob, and in every aspect of Torah [of Shem] could Jacob work with Creation, now as a fully respectable Man. God didn't simply give Jacob anything, nor did he earn his way by literal curse reminiscent of the days of Adam either. Jacob used Wisdom and Torah truth [revealed and concealed parts of the Torah; mazal and relationship with God] to master his craft, which is this case was through the he-goats. He could now endure any aspect of enterprise, and was inspired with craftsmanship ability to produce the garments and bread. Jacob's voice, now found the "hands of Esau" – only Jacob could see the hand of God.
The final straw in this basket is the concept of Emunah [faith/truth/covenant of faith/truth/etc.] and how one can live in and with Emunah, to the point of a spiritual lifestyle. Jacob learned this in the field, a place that with Emunah, one can be nourished by the field on a totally spiritual level. In Jacob's day this would be called another aspect of the Torah of Shem; today this is the basis of the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev. [R' Nachman is the most profound voice of the Ger Tzedek in Torah in our times, as he brings much light to the subject and appears to be without peer on the matter.] Jacob ends our Parsha by sanctifying the appearance of angels after a treaty with Laban, ending their dispute. One can learn and apply this aspect of Torah, and integrate all that was stated above into a practice of Torah from Emunah. Simply know, that should you [by terms of Emunah] find yourself in a predicament like Jacob at this point with Laban [again through Emunah, as all of life is the Torah spiraling ironically in our lives repetitiously], one can expect to be received by Divine messengers [again, carrying one's Emunah to conclusion].
Simply put, that what made the House of Israel great [to which Gerim became the Fourth member of; i.e. Judah's dalet] was the ability to live a life of Emunah, and manifest it into a life of Absolute Trust in God. When we incorporate Shem and Ever alongside our personal Sinai experience, and metabolize our experiences and lives with Emunah – by declaring war against falsehood, and a longing to sanctify great spiritual reality, one can begin to unlock the Mazal latent in his name and life. All of a sudden, he will have a Jacob-like relationship with the Divine, and be able to identify with the House of Israel, and claim his portion.
Suddenly mundane lives can become filled with ironic twists of fate; could anyone ever imagine a Torah so clear from the House of Ever? Jacob is different, and this comes not from or by accident. In a World that is semi-regular to grace the charm of Shem [knowingly or unknowingly], it could very easily be said that our personal hero could very well be Ever – the prophet who lives within names. With a little bit of Emunah investment, you may soon realize that you are more well-equipped with the wisdom of Ever than you realized, as every day we drink of the well of the Ancient Torah found within Gerim; then and now.
Parasha Audio Class 11 P.M. [Tzfat Time] Monday Night