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Beraishis - Genesis

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The Weekly Aliyot
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  Chayeh SarahVayeitzei  

Last week's parsha was Chaya Sarah, which contained the wedding of Avrohom Avinu's son Yitzchak to Rivkah. Our Sages say that Rivkah was only 3 years old when she was consecrated to marry Yitzchak.


In the first aliyah of this Parsha the Torah tells us that Rivkah had trouble conceiving children, and Yitzchak and Rivkah used to stand at opposite ends of the room and pray for children. Soon after, Rivkah became pregnant. She had a very difficult pregnancy and eventually gave birth to twin boys: a hairy reddish boy named Esav, and a second boy, holding onto the first one's heel, named Yakov.

Esav became a hunter, while Yakov dwelled in schools of Torah. One day, Esav came in hungry from the field and begged Yakov for some food, and sold his birthright as firstborn to Yakov for some of the food. Our sages say that this was the day Avrohom passed away and the food Yakov was cooking was to feed the bereaved, his father Yitzchak.


At the end of the first aliyah, the Torah tells us there was a famine in the land, and Yitzchak was tempted to go down to Egypt where his father, Avrohom, had gone in similar circumstances. But G-d told him not to leave the land of Israel because he was sanctified as an offering to G-d, by being brought to the akaida, and therefore not fit to leave the Holy Land of Israel. In this aliyah Yitzchak dwells near King Avimelech, and like his father Avrohom, his wife was thought to be his sister. King Avimelech notices that Rivkah is not his sister and issued a decree that no one touch them. The Torah says that while in this place, Yitzchak harvested a hundred times what he planted because G-d blessed him.


In the third aliyah Yitzchak becomes extremely wealthy and great in the land of the Philistines, and they ask him to leave. He moves a distance away, and again digs some of the wells that his father Avrohom had dug, but since then the Philistines had filled with earth. His servants dig new wells but the Philistines fight with them over these wells also. He finally moves somewhat further and finds peace.


In the fourth aliyah G-d blesses Yitzchak that he should fear not, and know that G-d is with him and will bless him and multiply his seed. After that Avimelech comes after Yitzchak and says that he recognizes that G-d is with him, and wants to make a peace treaty with him.


In this, the fifth aliyah, is the famous story of Yitzchak, who has grown older and his sight is failing him, attempting to bless his son. Yitzchak asks his son Esav, his first-born son, to fetch some meat and cook it nicely, and Yitzchak will bless him. But Rivkah hears all this and wants Yakov, her slightly younger son, to get the blessing, so she prepares some meat the way Yitzchak likes it, and gives it to Yakov to take in, and dresses Yakov in Esav's clothes.


At the end of the previous aliyah we had Yakov posing as Esav to get Yitzchak's blessing, and the plan is successful. In this, the sixth aliyah, is the blessing Yakov receives. The blessing begins with the words of the blessing "v'yiten lecho" that we say to each other on Motzei Shabbos on page 235 of the siddur Tehillat Hashem. No sooner does the blessing end, when Yakov goes out and Esav comes in. Esav announces to his father that he is back with the food and came to collect his blessing. Yitzchak wonders out loud "who was that that I just blessed?" Esav gets very angry, and Rivkah and Yitzchak send Yakov away for what they believe will be a "few days", for his safety.


In the seventh aliyah Esav takes another wife. Rashi says that after Yakov departed from his father and mother he went straight to the Yeshiva of Aiver, the great grandson of Shem (one of the three sons of Noach), and studied Torah for 14 years.


  Chayeh SarahVayeitzei  

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