Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Dove Always Finds Its Way Home

In the Haftora for parshas Vayeitzei, Hashem rebukes the ten northern tribes, AKA Efraim (The tribe who ruled the northern tribes), for wavering on repenting to Hashem. He rebukes them for worshipping idols, for their crooked business dealings, claiming in arrogance that Hashem is unaware of their actions, and for being deceitful. However, ultimately, Hashem won't let them succeed. This is all alluding to Lavan the Aramean, Yaakov's uncle, who in our parsha, swindled him every which way, yet with all his trickery and cunning, Hashem doesn't allow him to succeed.

The Haftora speaks of Yaakov's descent to Charan and how he worked to get his wives, which are mentioned in our parsha.

Sprinkled throughout the Haftora, is the exodus from Egypt, allusions to our future redemption and assurances that if we follow on Hashem's path, trusting in Him, keeping the Torah and mitzvas, etc., then he will help us succeed. Similarly, in the parsha, Yaakov, with Hashem's help, succeeds in Charan coming out with great wealth and a beautiful family.

What lessons are hidden in our Haftora? What are we meant to take away from the Haftora and the parsha?

The story of Yaakov going down to Charan, is the story of the Jewish people going into exile, and the future redemption. On a deeper level, it is the mission of the neshama coming into the body.

There are two types of exile. First, there is an exile of plenty, where we are free and lack nothing. However, because of this abundance, we follow our desires, falling lower and lower. When this happens, our holy Jewish energy, which is meant to nourish the good and holy forces in the world, end up feeding and energizing the negative forces. This is symbolized by the country of Ashur, in which we enjoyed relative freedom.

Then there is the exile of suffering, in which we feel stuck, unable to get out and do the simplest of things. Because of the suffering and oppression, our thoughts and abilities become constricted and obstructed. In other words we are stuck in our tzores. This is symbolized by the country of Mitzrayim (Egypt), which means constraints, and where we were in servitude.

To this the Haftora says, that when Moshiach comes, "He will roar like a lion... They will hurry like a bird from Egypt, and like a dove from Ashur, I will settle them in their homes, says Hashem." What is the lion's roar? That is the sound of the shofar Hashem will sound when Moshiach comes. Why does He use the metaphor of a bird and a dove? Because no matter how far they stray from their nest, they always find their way back home. The same is true about the Jewish people, no matter which kind of exile, or how far we stray, we will find our way back home.

Now the Haftora says, "Like a merchant who has deceitful scales in his hand." This is the neshama, who when it was above, was filled with silver and gold, which means love and awe of Hashem. But like a merchant who spends all his silver and gold, just so he can make a profit. So to, the neshama is willing to give up everything, descend to this lowly world, enter the body and does everything to effect the body, just for the gain it will attain through the mitzvahs that the body will do. This is the meaning of the verse in Tehilim, " To me, the Torah of your lips, is better, than thousands of gold and silver." That the Torah uttered by the lips, down in this physical world, is more valuable to the neshama, then all the love and awe it experienced while it was still in heaven.

This is a testament to how precious and valuable even the smallest mitzvah we do is to our Neshamas and by extension, Hashem.

May we each get closer to Hashem, through teshuva and may our precious mitzvahs finally tip the scales and usher in the redemption. May it happen soon.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you! Just caught it before I left the office!
    Shabbat Shalom!