Parshas VaYetze

   “And he reached the place” (28:11)


  The Rebbe says in Torah 83 “And he reached the place,” that the prayer shmonei esrei is the “place.” You have arrived at the shmonei esrei prayer—you’ve arrived at the right place. When a person stands to say the shmonei esrei, he is at the foundation stone; he is at the Beis HaMikdash; he is in the palace of the King. When he comes to such a place—to prayer—he is not in this world at all; he doesn’t exist. There is no one here but the King himself. He sees only that “the whole world is full of His glory.” He sees only Hashem. He sees nothing other than Hashem Yisborach. If you have reached shmonei esrei, if you reached this place, you have come to salvation, you have come to the million dollar jackpot—you’re in the right place! Why are you in such a hurry to run away? Start praying word by word! You’re in the palace of the King for at least 20 minutes—each blessing takes a minute. You came to “refa’einu”—this is the place of healing! “Bareich aleinu”—here is the income! You came to “hashiveinu”—here is the teshuva! If you would pray very slowly, you would see that you would receive every type of salvation! There are eighteen blessings which parallel the eighteen vertebrae. The Tikkunei Zohar explains that abundance flows from the upper worlds to the lower worlds through the prayer of shmonei esrei. Do you want the flow of abundance to finish so quickly? An abundance of healing, income, intelligence, brains—these need to come down through the eighteen worlds which are the eighteen blessings of shmonei esrei. Are you going to skip the shmonei esrei? Did you say it quickly? The channels remained clogged, and the abundance couldn’t descend.

   It’s time for mincha! Why are you running away? Where are you rushing off to? Stop everything and pray the mincha prayer. Mincha takes 40 minutes. You can also pray for 40 minutes. What’s the problem? Why do you have to be the first one to finish the prayer? You’re not the shaliach tzibur! The shaliach tzibur needs to finish first, but you can stand and pray shmonei esrei even for an hour. The Rebbe revealed that all types of salvation are found in the prayer. You don’t have to be afraid—you don’t have to worry. Your enemies will become your friends. Are you afraid what will be with your children? With your income? Just linger a while and say shmonei esrei slowly and everything will work out fine.

   Why doesn’t a person pray like he should? Because he doesn’t believe in the power of prayer. A person who doesn’t pray the way he should has no emunah. Why doesn’t a person pray slowly and pay attention to the words of his prayer? Because he doesn’t think that he needs to pray. Baruch Hashem, everything seems to be going along just fine without praying—he is a millionaire, even without prayer. A person doesn’t put any kavannah into his prayer because he has lost his emunah, like all the goyim who live their lives without emunah, because if he had complete faith he would pray every letter and every word with kavannah. If he just had a drop of humility and would make himself small, constricting his brain and his pride, he would start praying with kavannah.

    If a person had complete faith and would believe that Hashem Yisborach was standing right next to him and hearing every word that comes out of his mouth and listening to each and every prayer, then he would pray as he should. HaKadosh Baruch Hu is waiting for your prayers and He wants to give you everything. He wants to bring Moshiach, but He is simply waiting for one prayer with kavannah, one prayer with a broken heart, one prayer said word by word, letter by letter. This is what He is waiting for, this is what He is yearning for. And essentially, this is what our problem is. For if we were to pray one prayer with kavannah, Moshiach would come today—this moment, this second. 

   “When a person stands to pray and speaks words of prayer, then he is gathering fragrant bouquets of flowers and roses” (Likutei Moharan 65)

   When a person goes for a walk in the fields, he sees all kinds of flowers—anemones and cyclamens and daffodils—and he wants to go and pluck the whole field. He can’t pull himself away from the field, and he goes and picks more lovely roses and some more daisies and some more daffodils and his soul returns to him. And this is how our prayer should be: each letter is like a daffodil or a cyclamen, because each and every word is a whole world. When a person stands up to pray, he says the words of prayer and gathers up roses and other beautiful flowers. A person needs to go inside the words, inside of the shmonei esrei, inside the letters—because each letter has tales to tell and wants to give you all the presents in the world. Every letter wants to give you all the bounty in the world. Through each letter, the parts of a person’s soul are gathered in. The Rebbe says that the speech comes and asks you, and begs you, “Why are you rushing? Why are you racing through me? I will give you everything you want—whatever you want I’ll give you.” Each letter grabs the person and winds himself around the person and hugs him, saying, “Don’t leave me. Why are you rushing? Why are you running away?” With every single letter a person draws down all the bounty in the world and can influence others and all the generations--like Rabbeinu, who brought down abundance for all the generations, for the days of Moshiach and for the resurrection of the dead. This is because he stood and prayed shmonei esrei for several hours, each prayer being said very slowly, he felt that every letter was grabbing a hold of him. Thus he merited finishing his purpose in this world at 38 years old.

   Immediately, when the first letter of the prayer comes out, for instance the “beis” in the word “baruch,” it pleads and begs, “Don’t run away from me! Say the word ‘baruch’ very slowly. I will give you everything. How can you leave me?” “Baruch” is all the blessing in the world. Just the word “baruch” by itself should draw out the soul from so much deveikus. The beis says, “How can you leave me? I don’t understand you. Stand next to me and say me for a few seconds. Stand there patiently for a few more seconds. Say “baruch” slowly. You’ll get an apartment. You’ll be healthy. You’ll get everything you need. Why are you fleeing? I love you. I want you to say me slowly. Don’t you see my beauty, my splendor, my radiance, my magnificence? I will give you whatever you want, just be faithful to me. Don’t leave me so quickly. The connection of love between us is growing stronger every second!”

   Reb Nosson prays, “that I should have the power to detach myself from the letters,” because the letters grab the person so much that he cannot detach himself from them. Up until the age of twenty a person thinks he is really alive; he thinks that he is navigating his life. Up until the age of twenty any punishments that are due him from Heaven don’t get carried out in this world. After the age of twenty, suddenly he becomes ill, or his wife is sick, or his child is sick, every day he has to run to the emergency room. He doesn’t understand the warnings. Start praying! Pray shmonei esrei with kavannah. Say “refa’einu” slowly; draw healing to everyone, to the entire nation of Israel . “Because You are the Almighty King, who is a faithful and merciful Healer.” What? Is the doctor in the medical center faithful? Does he really care about you? Even though he is the most careful, the most punctual, it is only for the sake of his own career—that’s what interests him. He is not faithful. He’s not merciful! But Hashem Yisborach is the King who is a faithful and merciful doctor, taking care of you with total devotion. He doesn’t need your money. He doesn’t need honor. He doesn’t need to fill out another form that He took care of another patient in order to get a promotion. You’ve come to “refa’einu?” You will get all the healing in the world. Stand there and say the prayer, word by word, letter by letter. “Heal me, Hashem, and I will be healed.” Heal me, heal me, Almighty Faithful Doctor.

   All the miracles and wonders are ready and waiting for every Jew. Everything is ready for him. Hashem is just waiting for him to open his mouth and pray.



   Ribono Shel Olam, the living and existing One, whose glory fills the entire world, holy of holies, from whom nothing is lacking, the strongest of the strong, mightiest of the mighty, more successful than all successes, let me merit to pray each letter and line with kavannah, and to believe with complete faith that You watch over me and stand next to me every second. And You nourish every letter and utterance that comes out of my mouth and want to give me every good that is in the world. And that You suffer infinite pain that You cannot give me, because You are full of mercy, and You are completely and only full of mercy, and we have no conception of how infinite Your mercy is that You want to give infinitely without any investigating, but this comes only through the letters of prayer. Therefore, from now on, I should merit to put my heart’s full intention and with all the fine points of my soul into each letter of prayer and not to say any letter and any word without kavannah.  


Ohr Pnei HaMelech

   A person did not come into this world so that the refrigerator should rule over him, even though material objects are essential. Under no circumstances did we come to the world for this. We came to shatter the illusion called “this world.” We came here on a mission, with one purpose: to receive the awesome and great light of Ein Od Milvado”--“There is nothing other than Him.” A Jew cannot exist without a connection to Hashem. If someone were to try to force a Jew to worship an idol, chas v’shalom, he would be prepared to sacrifice his life and not do it. This is how Hashem created him! Even though it is hard for him to overcome his animal soul—because of the desire to eat or all kinds of other desires—he has the power in his G-dly soul to be killed for the sanctification of His name, because this is how Hashem made him—that he has this ability. What is my life worth if I don’t keep the mitzvah of “be killed but don’t sin.” If a person transgresses this, he completely destroys his connection with G-dliness. So why would he want to continue living if he cuts himself off from G-d? The fact that a person is connected to Hashem is the reality of every man woman and child, and it is impossible to explain this. The minute that a person has the desire to reach this goal—this true goal that we call, “There is nothing other than Him”—then he can essentially stand and hold on in the school of life. Despite the fact that once again he will be humiliated, and he gets angry, and he fights with windmills, and he wants to knock down walls, and he searches for other people’s faults, when really there is absolutely nothing to get so excited about. Who did this to you? Who fooled you? “Ain Od Milvado”—“There is nothing but Him.” The minute a person remembers this fact, he calms down. He stops fooling himself. He gets a hold of himself, and everything becomes easier.


Parparot L’Torah

“He dreamed and behold a ladder was set upon the earth, and its head reached toward heaven.” (28:12)

   The word ladder, "סולם" writes Rabbeinu Yaakov, the Baal HaTurim, has the same gematria as money ״ממון" and as poverty "עוני" (all have the gematria of 136), because this one will throw a person down and the other will raise him up. Just as a ladder is made up of steps, and people go up and down on it, so it is regarding the influence that money has on a person.

   Sometimes money drops a person down to the lowest level, until he reaches the point of “set upon the earth.” And sometimes money raises the person to the highest heights, until his “head reaches toward heaven.” But a person needs to remember at all times that money, like a ladder, is just a means on which to climb, level by level, to reach a lofty, honorable position in life, and should never be considered a purpose in and of itself.



 “He dreamed and behold a ladder was set up on the earth, and its head reached toward heaven.” (28:12)

   It is said in the name of the Admor the Rebbe Yisrael from Ruzhyn: The word “ladder” which is mentioned in Yaakov’s dream is a hint at the Melava Malka meal (the fourth meal of Shabbos). For our sins, this is a “ladder …set up on the earth,” that people are not careful about this minhag and sometimes degrade it by not following the letter of the law regarding the meal of the King Moshiach. But the truth is that “its head reached toward heaven”—the worth and value of this minhag reaches the highest heights. Fortunate is he that makes this meal as prescribed on every Motzei Shabbas.


Story on the Parsha

“He took some of the stones of that place and arranged them around his head” (28:11) Rashi explains: “The stones started arguing with one another. One said, ‘The tzaddik will rest his head on me.’ And another said, ‘The tzaddik will rest his head on me.’ Immediately, Hashem turned them into one stone.”

   Rebbe Yom Tov Lipa Teitelbaum, who was the Grand Rebbe of Maramures-Sighet, suffered terribly from strong opposition in his community. They weren’t satisfied with hurling offenses against the Rav, but even descended to the level, lo aleinu, of giving blows to Rebbe Yom Tov and his family. One day, the Rav was having a meal with a group of local followers and speaking words of Torah, when suddenly a large stone came flying into the house and almost hit the Rav’s head. Someone lifted up the rock, tossing it from one hand to the other, and angrily shouted, “What is the greatness of this stone that it could endanger human life. How evil those people are who intentionally threw this rock at our Rav!” “Chas v’ Shalom that you should make such an accusation about kosher Jews!” Rebbe Yom Tov interrupted. “We shouldn’t suspect, G-d forbid, that a Jew would throw such a large stone. What actually happened is that the people threw small stones, and then the stones started fighting amongst themselves, each one saying, ‘I will rest on the head of the tzaddik’ and so on, until all the small stones became one large stone!”


Story on the Parsha

Elokim remembered Rachel and Elokim perceived her [plight] and opened her womb.” (30:22)

   Chazal say that when Rachel Imainu said to HaKadosh Baruch Hu,Ribono Shel Olam, you know that Yaakov your servant loved me tremendously, and worked for my father for seven years for me. And when the seven years were over, the time came for me to marry my husband, and my father wanted to exchange me for my sister (Leah). And it was very difficult for me because I knew of the matter, and I informed my husband, and I gave him a sign to distinguish between me and my sister so that my father wouldn’t be able to carry out the exchange. But afterwards, I changed my mind, because I felt sorry for my sister that she shouldn’t be embarrassed. And that night they gave my sister to my husband instead of me, and I told my sister the signs that I had given to my husband so that he should think that she was me. And not only that, I hid under the bed when he was with my sister, and when he would speak to her and she was quiet, I would answer each question so that he wouldn’t recognize my sister’s voice. And this is how I did a kindness for her, and I wasn’t jealous of her, and I didn’t allow her to be humiliated. And who am I, flesh and blood, dust and ashes, who wasn’t jealous and didn’t cause my sister to be disgraced. You are the Merciful Living King—why would you be jealous from idolatry, which has no basis, that you exiled my children, who were killed by the sword, and enemies did with them as they wished?” Immediately, HaKadosh Baruch Hu’s mercy was aroused, and He said “For Rachel I will return Israel to their place, as it is written (Yirmiahu 31), “Thus said Hashem: A voice is heard on high, a wailing, bitter weeping, Rachel weeps for her children; she refuses to be consoled for her children, for they are gone. Thus said Hashem: Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for there is reward for your accomplishment—the word of Hashem—and they will return from the enemy’s land.” Speedily in our days, Amen.


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