Illuminations #99, Kislev 5777, Parshat Vayeitzei

KollelNerHamizrach__illumination logo

Illuminations #99, Kislev 5777, Parshat Vayeitzei

Torah Gems

“And (G-d) will give me bread to eat and clothes to wear” (Bereshit 28:20)

This is what the righteous ask of G-d: they ask for the basic needs a person cannot live without. They do not ask for any luxuries.

When a person desires luxuries it causes much turmoil and aggravation for him. Our desires are what cause us to chase after wealth and honor. If we would simply ask G-d for our actual needs, we would have nothing to worry about, because G-d gives us daily what is necessary for our existence, as we see from the Parasha of the Manna.

We can see with our own eyes the great wisdom with which G-d manages the world. Whatever is the most necessary for a person’s survival is the most plentiful. Whatever is not so essential is harder to come by. For example, people can live just fine without precious stones, and therefore they are hard to come by. Food, which is more necessary than precious stones, is more commonplace. Water, which is more essential than food, is more plentiful and found in many places. Air, which is absolutely essential at all times for a person’s survival, is everywhere all of the time.

Yaakov Avinu,like all the righteous, prayed for his essential needs and not for luxuries. This is an important lesson for all of us.

Parsha Pearls

“And (G-d) will give me bread to eat and clothes to wear” (Bereshit 28:20)

On a simple level, this shows us that Yaakov Avinu was satisfied with the minimum. All he needed was bread to eat and clothes to wear.

There is a deeper meaning to this, however. Yaakov Avinu’s intention here is that he wishes his descendants to follow the path of the Torah and Mitzvot. The Torah is often referred to as bread. Thus, here he is using the term to symbolize the holy Torah. Clothing represents the children of a person, as we see  in the case of Yehoshua the High Priest, whose children are referred to as his clothing.

So what Yaakov Avinu is asking for is bread to eat, which is the Torah for him to study and keep. But this is not sufficient. He is also requesting that his generations will likewise be steeped in the study of the Torah and the fulfillment of its Mitzvot.

Glimpses of Greatness

Harav Gershon Edelstein heard The following statements from Harav Aharon Cohen, Rosh Yeshiva of Chevron Yeshiva, who knew Rav Elyashiv in his early years: “He is the greatest of the young learners.”


Halacha Weekly

Q. Can One Wear Clothing Which Is Unisex?

A. “The Accessories of a man shall not be worn by a woman, and the clothes of a woman shall not be worn by a man” (Devarim 22-5). Sefer Hachinuch (542-543) states that the reason for the mitzvah is to distance us from immorality, and there is no doubt that if the clothes of men and women are the same, they will intermingle with one another continuously and the land will be filled with immorality.

Lev Chaim (3-27) (R. Chaim Pelagi, Z”L) asks about a piece of clothing that is unisex, and there is no difference in the form of the clothing that can enable one to recognize whether it is for a man or woman, if either a man or woman can wear that garment. He brings Ohalei Yaakov (70)  (R. Yaakov Sasportes, Z”L) that says that there is no prohibition for a man except if the form of the garment is designated specifically for women. But clothing that has one form for men and also for women is permitted to both. Also, see Sdei Chemed (Lamed -126). However, there are opinions which do not permit one to wear unisex clothing at all. Furthermore, permission to wear unisex clothing does not apply to women wearing pants, which is not permitted even if the pants are unisex.