October 23, 2019 ~ Shabbat BERESHIT. Maqam RAST.

Shabbat Vayesse - שבת ויצא

Maqam AJAM: Mandate Melodies

מי יספר חסדי האל נשמת
ידידי רועי מקימי שמחים
יעטר יה לעם סגר פזמון ספר תורה


ויצא יעקב מבאר שבע וילך חרנה - A common adage often used to console someone is "when one door closes, another one opens." When one door closed on Jacob as he was sent into exile (ויצא), he did not despair, but continued to walk (וילך) to the many open doors in front of him. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, Jacob, a poor refugee, left his problems in the past, and made the best of the situation. During his years in exile, he managed to build a life for himself by getting married, having children, and earning great wealth. The same thing happened later when the Children of Israel were in Egypt. It was during this exile that Israel established itself as a great nation. It is important for us to remember that with each setback, there is an opportunity to make many positive changes. No matter how bad a particular situation seems, it is important to be like Jacob and keep "walking" (Beth Torah Bulletin, 12/10/16).

Leah's Fifth Son

ותקרא שמו יששכר - The name יששכר, introduced in Genesis 30:18, presents many scholars with a difficulty in pronunciation. According to Professor Shnayer Z Leiman, the early authorities (Rishonim) agree that there is only one correct pronunciation but differ as to what it is. The various opinions include: *(1) Yis-sa-khar (dagesh in first sin; qamas under first sin; second sin completely silent), (2) Yi-sa-khar, (3) Yish-sa-khar (shin followed by sin), (4) Yi-sas-khar (both sins pronounced; patah under first sin). The Aleppo Codex ascribes to the Ben Asher pronunciation of Yis-sa-khar (opinion 1). In addition, the Remah, the Minhat Shai, and many other later authorities support this pronunciation. Despite the development of Ashkenaz communities applying various pronunciations of יששכר throughout the Torah, all Sephardic and Yemenite Jews agree to pronounce יששכר in accordance to the first opinion (Yis-sa-khar) alone. Tiqqun Highlights, Beth Torah Bulletin, November 18, 2018.

Living the Dream

ויפגעו בו מלאכי אלהים - When things were not looking promising, Jacob dreams of a calm place where angels ascend and descend from God's heavenly throne. Although Jacob saw the angels in a dream, he never expects to see them in real life. Instead, he makes a vow to return to the place and dedicate a temple to God should he survive his exile. Jacob, a refugee living in a dangerous world with no allies, wealth, or army, had good reason to doubt his survivability. Yet, he continues confidently on his journey. Jacob's confidence came from his trust in God. Upon his return from exile, Jacob, possessing a large family and tremendous wealth, merits to encounter the actual angels of God (ויפגעו בו מלאכי אלהים) that he saw in his dream many years prior. Seeing these angels in real life and not in a dream is a symbol that all that Jacob has wished for in his dreams have now been accomplished and what was once a dream is now a reality. Beth Torah Bulletin, 11/25/17.