Vayishlach D’var Torah

December 13, 2019
Jacob Pomerantz

Denver, Colorado, United States

Class of 2021

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Recently, I read a Midrash about this week's Parsha, Vayishlach, which I found very interesting. The story originates from the line of the Parsha, “For his true self and his true priorities, Jacob provided a secure and substantial 'home'; for his material possessions and other peripheral elements of his life, he sufficed with a minimal 'shed'.” Based on this excerpt from the Parsha, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok of Lubavitch told a story of his past. He wrote, 

“When I was four years old, I asked my father: "Why did G‑d make people with two eyes? Why not with one eye, just as we has been given a single nose and a single mouth?" 

"Do you know the Alef-Bet?" asked father


"Then you know that there are two very similar Hebrew letters, the Shin and the Sin. Can you tell the difference between them?"

"The Shin has a dot on its right side, the Sin on its left," I replied. 

Said father: "There are things which one must look upon with a right eye, with affection and empathy, and there are things to be regarded with a left eye, with indifference and detachment. On a siddur or on a Jew, one should look with a right eye; on candy or toy, one should look with a left eye."

In this story, the Rabbi is trying to make a point based on the line from before that there are important things that should be regarded with the right eye, with affection and love, and other things are not important in the overall scheme of things. These should be regarded with the left eye. Yakov provided the things that were less important in his life such as his material possessions and other side concerns a shed to live in. However, he provided a home to the things that actually mattered in his life such as his true self, his family and priorities. This is important to recognize today. Sometimes we all get caught up in the small details and the things that don’t matter such as our phone, and other “peripheral elements”, that we forget to think about the things that will matter in the long run, our family, friends, hobbies, passions, etc. From this, we should all recognize this unfortunate fact and learn from it. We must keep moving on because if Judaism exists for one reason and one only, it is to help each and every one of us become the best versions of ourselves. 

Shabbat Shalom

Jacob Pomerantz is an Aleph from Rocky Mountain Region and loves rock climbing.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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