Parashat Vayishlach

B’H

Vayishlach

Here comes the deepest depths. Esav doesn’t believe that having children means anything in the world. Esav meets Ya’akov and asks him: “Are you running a kindergarten or something?” You are schlepping with your children, what’s going on there?’ Esav says first of all ‘Mi Eilu Lefanecha?’. Imagine if I would meet with President Bush to talk about Israel I would take all my children. I say to the president ‘before we are talking about politics what do you think about these children’? Esav has a war with Ya’akov, it’s a world war. Do you know with how many people Esav came with? The Torah says four hundred people but the Midrash says it was not four hundred people, but four hundred generals. Each of those generals had forty thousand people underneath them. Esav was the king of Se’ir, he was a world king, it’s not to be believed. Little Ya’akov Avinu comes with his children and on the other side a big army. The night before Ya’akov Avinu prepared his weapons, sharpened his sword. Esav says to Ya’akov ‘you know there is a war between you and me, mi eile lefanecha, who is it that you brought? What’s going on with your wives and your children?’ So Ya’akov Avinu says back to them ‘Yeladay Hem Asher Chanan Elokim Le’avdecha’, these are my children which G-d gave to your servant.

Esav thinks that every Jew is like a Coca Cola machine, man and woman get together and they have babies. I want you to know something. I was once Shabbos Vayishlach in London and before Shabbos I had a big concert there. You know what is the difference between us and the world? What’s for me a real person? A real person is someone who their children are… (can’t hear). A non-religious lady comes up to me and she says ‘Thank you so much for what you said. I want you to know, I have two daughters. One is the best tennis player in London, she is very healthy and her husband is too. My second daughter is so sick that the doctor insisted that as soon as she gets married she has to tell the chosson that she probably can’t have children’. So this daughter told her husband that she doesn’t think she can have any children and he said back to her ‘Let’s talk to G-d’. She has nine children.

You see Ya’akov says to Esav ‘you don’t know my relationship to my wives; you don’t know my relationships to my children. You can’t fathom my relationship to G-d’. By Ya’akov everything is the deepest deepest depths. Can you imagine Esav walking around kissing his sons? He has so many wives and about two hundred children, he doesn’t even know which is a wife and which is child. I want you to know, I remember when I was little. By my father’s Seder it was something special, he would tell us a torah from our grandfather. It says ‘Vayiten Le’Esav Es Har Se’ir’, G-d gave Esav Har Se’ir which is where he lived, ‘VeYa’akov Uvanav Yardu Mitzrayma’, and Ya’akov and his children went to Egypt. What’s going on here? G-d gave Esav the mountain of Se’ir while Ya’akov and his children walk to Egypt? So my zeide says that if you ask Esav ‘are you rich?’ he will say ‘yeah, I have real estate’. If I will say to Ya’akov Avinu ‘are you rich’ he will say ‘yes, I have twelve children.’ That’s all there is to it.

Gevalt chevre, this Shabbos is not so simple, no Shabbos is simple.

I don’t know where to begin; I don’t know where to end so let’s just start in the middle. I don’t understand it a hundred percent but who cares.

Without getting involved in the depths of it. Yitzchak says to Esav ‘bring me a feast and I will bless you’. Immediately Ya’akov comes so Yitzchak says to Ya’akov ‘Ma Ze Meharta Bni’, how did you make it so fast? So he says ‘Ki Hikra Hashem Elokecha Lefanai’, because your G-d mamesh gave it to me fast.

So the whole thing about the feast, listen, I’m coming in and the bagels and locks are really fresh. And those potato chips are just really so fresh, so Yitzchak says to Ya’akov how could you make it so fast? What is he talking about, is it possible that Yitzchak was talking about the food? He had nothing else to say besides that the steak is done and it’s so good. I mean Yitzchak was never in this world. At that moment he blesses Ya’akov he can’t even hear what’s in heaven, even heaven was too low for him. There are only two Rebbes who talk about it. Maybe there were more but only two in print. First is the Ishbitser. When Ya’akov Avinu comes to Yitzchak Yitzchak looks at him and says ‘Ma Ze Miharta Bni’. You know, we don’t always see the person the way they are. I don’t always know who you are when I look at you, it takes special great moments to mamesh know a person. The first time Avraham mamesh saw who Yitzchak is was by the akeida. The first time Yitzchak saw who his father was he says to him ‘Vayomer Elav Avi’, he mamesh knew who he was. ‘Vayomer Elav Bni’ is a Gevalt…So the great moment with Avraham and Yitzchak was by the akeida. When was the great moment between Yitzchak and Ya’akov? By the brachas, so this is what the Ishbitser says. ‘Ma Ze Miharta Bni’, it will take thousands of years to reach a pure level of avodas Hashem, how come you made it so fast? The level you reached take a hundred lifetimes, how could you reach it so fast? So he answers him ‘Ki hikra Hashem Elokecha Lefanecha’. If you remember, when Eliezer was looking for Rivkah. So first of all, it takes a week from Chevron to Charan, and even in those days until you would get the girl to agree would take a year, but Rivkah came right away. So he says mamesh ‘Ki Hikra Hashem Elokecha Lefanecha’, this is mamesh your zchut because I have a father like you and it goes fast. This is also not so simple but it is already something to go into.

The Heilige Imrei Noam says something else, also unbelievable. Whatever Ya’akov did he mamesh paved the way for Yidden later. Everybody knows that we were supposed to be in Egypt for four hundred years and everybody knows also that the night of the blessings was Seder night. G-d took us out before four hundred years, so when Ya’akov walked in Yitzchak saw that we were making it faster than four hundred years. To reach redemption takes four hundred years of slavery, Ya’akov Avinu is making it faster.

You know how many lifetimes it takes… how many beautiful earthshaking moments it takes to know who one really is? To know what I really want? Not so simple. It is possible to love my whole life and to not do one thing that I really want. Let’s start from there. I went to yeshiva because my father wanted me to, I married this girl that my mother wanted me to marry. I moved to this city because my mother-in-law wanted me to, I became a lawyer because my friend wanted me to. For most people their whole life has nothing to do with them. How many people have the privilege to mamesh reach the level… Even between us and G-d, basically the Ribbono Shel Olam always helps us do the right thing, we mamesh have special help from heaven. What would happen if G-d would take away that help? I was born a Jew, learning torah, keeping Shabbos, everything together helps me to be on the right track. Imagine if I would take all this away. The deepest question in the world is what would I do then? Most of the things we are doing we are still part of the world. How would it look to you if next Friday night everyone comes to shul and I say ‘listen friends, I need a little vacation from Shabbos and a limousine is waiting outside. My girlfriend just came in from Paris and we are going out on a cruise’/. You know why I wouldn’t do such a thing? Because the whole world would fall apart. So there is too much going around me which would prevent me from doing it. If suddenly all this would not be I would have absolute free choice, I would have absolute free choice. None of those holy layers, G-d layers would be around. Let me tell you something deeper, I am always serving G-d because G-d is right there. Imagine if it would be humanly possible to imagine that G-d is not there. Imagine there would be such a thing that G-d is not looking anymore, G-d promised to keep his eyes closed, what would I do then?

One more very very important thing. It is possible to work all your life serving G-d without reaching anywhere. I can come before G-d and say ‘Master Of The World, I am working so hard. I am learning, I am keeping Shabbos’, and the truth is that I haven’t reached anywhere. What does it go to prove? It goes to prove that G-d doesn’t really need you serving him because if G-d would care he would see that you really are a good customer and he would help you. This means that G-d doesn’t really need customers. The whole thing is just an imagination. G-d just wants you to live and eat. Bagels on Sunday, steak on Monday and latkes on Tuesday. After a hundred years you die and you go up to heaven and do the same thing.

Now I want you to open your hearts, The Ishbitser says that Esav is coming against Ya’akov with two claims. The first claim is that he says ‘I know you better, I’m your brother. If I know one thing it is that deep deep inside you don’t want to be there, you don’t want to be there. The only thing is that I had the guts to break away from Yitzchak and the whole gesheft, you didn’t have enough guts. But I know, you would be happy to be a little rapist like me, having a good time. You are crazy, you are sitting there like a dog, what do you gain from it?’. So Ya’akov says “I am a servant of G-d”. Esav says “listen to me brother”, and here I want you to know something. I’m sure it’s clear to you but you have to realize something. First of all we were talking about ‘Saro Shel Esav’, and I have to begin somewhere because I am not sure if we know what we are talking about. The night before Ya’akov met Esav it says that Ya’akov crossed over the Jordan and ‘Vayivaser Ya’akov Levado’, Ya’akov Avinu remained alone. ‘Vaye’avek Ish Imo Ad Alos Hashachar’, and a man fought with until the morning came. The Gemara says ‘who was this man? It was the angel of Esav. Meaning it was not a little boxing game in Madison Square Garden. The Gemara says Shehigia Afar El Kise Hakavod, they were fighting so much that the dust went all the way up before G-d’s throne.

Now you mamesh have to open your hearts, this is the Zohar Hakadosh. What is the difference between earth and dust? Earth, you put some seed in it and it will grow, dust… nothing. Do you know what Esav is telling Ya’akov? Esav was telling Ya’akov “do you know what happens to all of your service to G-d? It’s dust, it’s nothing”. ‘Shehila Avak Ad Kise Hakavod’, he mamesh through it up all the way till G-d. He says “listen G-d, if it so important that people should serve you, why doesn’t something happen? Why does it remain dust? So many people have tried so hard but it’s all dust, nothing happens.” And the second thing he says to him “ Vayivaser Ya’akov Levado”, Ya’akov, I would like to see you if you are mamesh all by yourself, forget about the whole gesheft. Just you yourself, I don’t think you mean it.

And here I want you to open your hearts in the deepest depths. When I love somebody very much, very very much, when they ask me to do something it doesn’t matter how important it is, I’m just doing it because I love them so much. When you love somebody very much you will do anything for them. If I don’t like someone and they will ask me for a favor I’ll start arguing “why do you need, it, are you sure you need it, when do you need it?’, all kinds of questions. When someone loves me and I love them very much who cares? To serve G-d and maybe it’s only dust you really have to mean it from the deepest depths of your heart. If I am only serving G-d because of my mother-in-law or because of my father… I’m learning for five years and I still can’t read Hebrew than I would stop learning. I’m learning because I love the Torah so much.

I don’t know if it fits but I have to tell you an unbelievable story. Reb Ahron Kotler was my Rebbe and his father-in-law was Reb Isser Zalman who also the greatest of the generation before. Two hundred years ago

in Lithuania the biggest yeshiva was Volozhin, all the geniuses of Russia and Lithuania went there. We have no concept, beyond us. So Reb Isser Zalman told a story about a water carrier in Volozhin whose name was Yankele. He couldn’t read, couldn’t daven, just a water carrier with a cup. One day there was sitting on the street with the Rosh Yeshiva and this water carrier comes up and says ‘Rebbe, I want you to know. I am coming into the yeshiva and I am listening to the learning and I heard that it says if you mamesh taker upon yourself the yoke of heaven then the yoke of this world will not be put on you. I was called to go the army, the yoke of the Czar. I made a vow that I accept upon myself the yoke of the Torah, I’d rather serve G-d than the Czar. I want you to teach me torah”. So Reb Isser Zalman says “really, here he is sitting here with a giant. It’s like him going to Einstein and asking him to teach him how much one and one is.” So they looked at him and someone tells him “listen, I don’t have so much time right now, maybe in half a year”. “But no, I need it by today, I made the vow today. From this day on I have the yoke of the Torah on me”. He left, no one saw him again. Forty years later Reb Isser Zalman came to Yerushalayim and he was asking around who are the great scholars of Yerushalayim. He was told that there was one person who was sitting in a Beis Medrash in Me’a She’arim who knows absolutely the whole Talmud, Bavli and Yeurshalmi like no one in the world. So he says “I got to see him first”. So he comes to the Beis Medrash and he couldn’t believe his eyes, it was Yankele the Water Carrier… Yankele the Water Carrier. “You know why he reached such a level? He mamesh wanted it so much. I’m sure there were times he was just about to give up because he obviously wasn’t a genius, he was a water carrier”.

When Ya’akov organized his family it says that Bilha and Zilpa were first, then Leah and then Rachel at the end. What was going on there?

Everything the torah tells us means it’s for me, I need it for every minute of my life. This is Gevalt, this is really like a womensdik torah you know what Esav was claiming? Esav was saying to Ya’akov that it’s so important to serve G-d, why is it that woman are ‘patur’ from so many mitzvahs? This is from the Zohar Hakadosh. Saro Shel Esav came with a heavenly heavenly fire, what’s going on in heaven? In heaven Esav says to Ya’akov “if it’s so important than why are the women ‘patur’?

And also something else, it’s a whole long story. The first thing Ya’akov Avinu was showing Esav was the ox. It says ‘Veyehi Li Shor Vechamor’, I have an ox and a donkey, I have a male servant and a female servant”. What was he telling Esav? Ya’akov was not bragging. Listen to this, this is Gevalt. This is one of the deep Ishbitser Torahs. Imagine I’m coming into a house and the dog jumps and me and barks, it wants to bite me. What does this go to prove? First of all the dog is telling me that my owner really doesn’t want you to come but he won’t say it. Do you know that animals pick up the subconscious of the owner? If you walk into a sweet person’s home, the doge’le is sweet, and if you walk into the home of someone who is disgusting their dog is really disgusting. If someone says “I’m a very good person but my dog is not so good”, don’t buy it, because if you are good then your doge’le is good. Can you imagine if Avraham Avinu had a dog who jumps at you and wants to take you apart?

Remember the Gevalt story, the Gemara in Shabbos there was some thief who stole the oxen of Reb Yehoshua Ben Prachya. Nebech, he stole it, what could you do. They put this ox to work on Sunday and he was working all week. On Shabbos morning they take this ox and begin to work with him but he doesn’t move. Nebech, they beat him up but he doesn’t move, it’s Shabbos. So after three weeks like this they realized that nothing will help to make this ox work on Shabbos. These thieves had big neshamas. These thieves said to themselves “a donkey knows it’s Shabbos and we human beings don’t know it’s Shabbos?’.

The Gemara says that they took the ox and brought it back to Reb Yehoshua Ben Prachya. They converted and mamesh became Rebbe in Bnei Brak, unbelievable, for real.

I want you to know the deepest deepest depths. If I love people half and half but not really a hundred percent, then my dog is also not a hundred percent. It’s very clearly written in the Gemara that if I have an ox and it goes and kills somebody than the truth is that I should be killed Chas V’Shalom. But this was only my ox, but hey brother, if your ox killed somebody then there is murder inside of you. There is murder inside of you, and also the other way. If a person is really holy then the holiness of a person expands itself on all their belongings.

Let me ask you something. When you walk into someone’s house you can smell from the wall what kind of person this is. So the ba’al habayit can say “listen, I have nothing to do with the walls, I just hang around here”. Even the stone picks up something. Maybe we human beings have trouble picking up who we are dealing with but animals and nature mamesh pick up everything. Let me ask you, why is it that when you stand by the holy wall it’s so good? Because Shlomo Hamelech built it, the stones of Shlomo Hamelech, ahh…something else. You cannot say that the stones of Shlomo Hamelech and stones of Rockefeller center are of the same value. It’s not, right?

The Heilige Apter one time went back to Reb Shmelke’s house a hundred years before him. He walked in and said that every room was mamesh paradise because the holiness of the Apter was still around.

Esav says to Ya’akov “It’s nonsense. Don’t tell me that, don’t tell me that the holiness of a person can expand to his belongings. Now open your hearts, it’s a Gevalt. It says ‘Veahavta Es Hashem Elokecha Bechol Levavcha’, with all your heart. The Gemara says that B’chol Levavcha is Avraham. B’chol Nafshecha, with all your soul was Yitzchak, Yitzchak was ready to die for G-d. then comes B’chol Me’odecha’, with all your belongings is Ya’akov Avinu. But everybody knows that Me’odecha, your belongings comes from the word meod, very much. Whatever I want very much, mamesh from the deepest depths of my heart, then it expands to my belongings. Ya’akov Avinu took all from Avraham and Yitzchak and added his own. Everybody knows that from Ya’akov Avinu I cannot stop being a Jew. Ya’akov Avinu is reaching so deep that there is nothing in the world that can reach so deep.

I spoke to somebody in Belgium who is not religious, he says that the whole yiddishkeit is really nothing. We were talking about how Russian Jews were away for seventy years from yiddishkeit, how come they are still here? Because there is something so deep inside and nothing else can reach that kind of depth. You know what it is? If yiddishkeit reaches me eighty miles the world can also reach me eighty miles. But the last twenty miles nothing else reaches me. There is something so holy. Why does everybody still come to shul on Yom Kippur? Because Yom Kippur is mamesh reaching into their deepest depths. There is nothing which can take it away because nothing else can reach it to take it out. If I want to destroy something in your house I have to reach there. I was once somewhere talking to Shomer Hatza’ir kids, real communist Jewish kids. I said to them “I am ready to exchange religion, I will become Shomer Hatza’ir and you will become Yidden. But in order to exchange it you have to give me something. Can you give me anything close to Shabbos? Can you give me anything even close to Simchas Torah? Can you give me a holiday which any close a meaning to Channuka or Purim? Do you have any holidays which reach the deepest depths of the neshama? You have nothing”. I got through to one of them, he is now a dentist in Antwerp, Gevalt. But what I want to tell you is that the whole fight between Esav and Ya’akov is like this. Esav says that yiddishkeit does not reach everywhere, its cute and sweet, tradition. I don’t want to say anything bad,

but sometimes you meet Yidden. There were kids coming to the House of Love and Prayer. Their father was the President of a temple somewhere and their mother was the President of Hadassah and they didn’t like it that the kids were coming to the House of Love and Prayer. The mother called me one day and said “My husband and I don’t understand why our children like to come to you for Shabbos. We have a beautiful Sabbath meal”. I said “You have a beautiful Sabbath meal? We don’t have a beautiful Sabbath meal. Without being personal I want to know, what do you do during your Sabbath meal?”. “First of all”, at least she admitted to it, “We have our television blasting”. The two kids would sit in the corner, watching their parents fighting while the television is blasting. So what is her problem? She did not want to admit that there is a Shabbos which is mamesh reaching beyond.

Last week I was invited to a wedding in Brussels. All the rich people of Brussels were there, there must have been two thousand people in the synagogue. The cantor was going on. You know, at least when Michael Jackson sings something is going on there, or Whitney Houston Gevalt. The music was mamesh not Jewish music. And the rabbi? As much as I don’t speak French that much I knew. The whole synagogue was talking to each other the whole time. Then the bride comes in waiving at everyone. I said to someone sitting next to me “Charlie Chaplain would have picked up a thousand good ideas from here”. What was the problem? It was nothing wrong but it doesn’t touch anybody, it doesn’t reach anywhere.

I want you to know that Esav and Ya’akov were both pupils of Yitzchak. Esav says that the Torah doesn’t each anywhere. I know everything, I know every law of Shabbos and I don’t keep Shabbos. I know every law of Succos and I don’t mind not sitting in the Succah, I don’t give a damn. So he says to Ya’akov “You are telling me that it reaches you?”. Now listen to this, this is the deepest depths. This is mamesh awesome.

Esav says to Ya’akov “how come your women don’t have to fulfill the mitzvahs which have to do with tithing?’, this is mamesh from the Zohar Hakadosh, it’s awesome. You know what Ya’akov says to him? If the husband is doing something with all his heart then it reaches his wife also, it’s like she is doing it. He says to Esav “you are right. If you would do a mitzvah your wife would have to do a mitzvah also because you don’t do it deep enough that it should reach her”, because Esav has nothing to do with his own wife.

So now listen to this. First he shows him his cattle. Ya’akov says to Esav “look at my cattle, Gevalt are they holy because I serve G-d with so much depth that my ox knows about it”. Then comes Bilha and Zilpa first. So he says “when I do a mitzvah and when I am learning it’s like they are learning”. Then comes Leah, and Leah is even deeper, this is mamesh awesome. You know something, what’s Leah all about? Leah was given to Ya’akov, he didn’t plan it. The Gemara says sometimes you go to wife and sometimes your wife comes to you. Leah went to Ya’akov, he didn’t look for her she just came to him. That means that sometimes we do something good without even knowing it. You know friends, I walk down the street and I see a person and say “Gevalt, how are you doing Moishele, how about coming next Shabbos?”. Did you know that Moishele was on his way to commit suicide because he thought he has no friends? And I invited him for Shabbos. So maybe Moishele says to himself “okay, I’m not committing suicide because I’m going to have Shabbos now. If I decide to commit suicide maybe I will do it after Shabbos, what’s the rush?

So you know what means? I can’t even said that the mitzvah I did I did it so deep that it reaches my wife, but you know what Leah is all about? Even the things you do beyond your own wits, it also comes from the deepest depths of you. Even everything I am doing beyond my own wits, beyond knowing what I am doing… Some people can say to you “I love you” and they don’t mean it, and some people can just say to you “Good Morning” and it’s the deepest depths. Leah is on the level that I just say ‘Good Morning’. The Ma’or Vashemesh says that as many people as Reb Elimelech lifted up by being a rebbe, he lifted up thousands more by just walking the street because everybody who saw Reb Elimelech were mamesh lifted up from the dust. And this is on the level of Leah… I didn’t even know that I was doing it, didn’t know.

Remember the story of the Bobover Rav. The story is that at that time the Ropshitser was not the Rebbe yet. Whenever the Ropshitser was in Lublin he was the gabbay, he would tell people when to come in. The Ropshitser was very tall, and when people would come in he would put his arm on the doorpost and say ‘go under’. When a person came who very arrogant he would put his arm very low and say ‘go under’. Especially if some rebbes came who though they were something. Not real Rebbes, but like half Rebbes. It was like he was saying ‘If you want to see my Rebbe you better crawl. Anyway, by the Heilige Seer of Lublin’s daughter’s wedding there thousands and thousands of people there, it was impossible to get through. But on Shabbos morning of the sheva brachos the Heilige Lubliner was on his way to shul. There was Nebech a little boy who was paralyzed and couldn’t walk. So some people suggested to the parents that they should lie this boy on the street when the Lubliner has to pass through, and if he would see this he would for sure bless him. But there were so many thousands of people so the Ropshitser was walking backward to make room for the Rebbe. Suddenly he hits upon the little boy lying there. He didn’t have time to think so he says “Would you please get up”, and the boy got up and ran off. Do you know what the Heilige Bobover Rav said? He said that the Ropshitser knew that this boy was paralyzed but the Heilige Ropshitser, every word he uttered…So this is on the level of Leah.

The last thing Ya’akov showed Esav was Rachel. Everybody knows that the arch-enemy of Esav is Yosef Hatzadik. What is Rachel is all about? Mamesh Avodas Hashem. Yosef Hatzadik does not for one billionth of a second stop serving G-d. This is the most anti Esav because Esav says you don’t have to serve G-d because firs of all it’s all dust, doesn’t reach anywhere. So good, you keep Shabbos, so therefore.

And here one more thing which is the deepest depths. The Gemara says that Ya’akov Avinu’s space is mamesh before G-d’s throne. The angels said that they were looking at Ya’akov Avinu down here and they were looking at his face up there. They couldn’t believe it’s the same. I want you to know something friends. Let’s take Simchas Torah, Gevalt we all look so holy. Two days later I meet you on the street, it’s not the same. How many people are the same when they are standing by the holy wall or when they go to buy bagels? Ya’akov Avinu is the same, Ya’akov Avinu is mamesh the same. So you know Esav does? He wants to cover up the face of Ya’akov. This is the deepest depths, you know what Esav wants? Esav doesn’t want you to see your own face when you are holy because maybe you will like it. Most of the people have never seen what they look like when they are together.

So you hear friends, the first thing is ‘Vayivaser Ya’akov Levado’. Esav says to Ya’akov “you are only a Jew because you have a father, mother, twelve children and a whole society”. So Ya’akov Avinu, ‘Vayivaser Ya’akov Levado’, says to Esav “if I would mamesh be all alone in the world I would still do the whole thing. I am not keeping Shabbos because I have to keep Shabbos, and I am not putting on tefilin

because if I don’t put on tefilin then it doesn’t look nice”. Levado means the deepest deepest depths of Ya’akov. And here I want you to know, obviously Ya’akov Avinu is paving the way for Mashiach to come. What are we doing in exile all the time?

Listen to one more very beautiful thing. Everybody knows that Ya’akov Avinu said to Esav “I have an ox, I have a donkey, I have slaves and I have a shifcha. This is what the medrash says, it’s so beautiful. I have an ox, this is Mashiach Ben Yosef. I have a donkey, it’s Mashiach. I have a servant, its Moshe Rabbeinu. Now this is mind-blowing, Ishbitser torah. Who is the Shifcha? So the medrash says it’s Ruth, mamesh, our holy mother Ruth who left behind everything behind her to bring Mashiach into the world. You know what he is telling him? Do you know where the service of G-d reaches, do you know where people can reach?

I will tell you, there are people who haven’t reached so deep. It’s true, but I can also show you someone who did reach somewhere. I am showing Mashiach Ben Yosef, I’m showing you where Yosef Hatzadik reached. I’m showing you Moshe Rabbeinu. And I want you to know something else. All the Rebbes say that we always think that they were different types of people, but they were the same people like we are. The whole difference is that they mamesh wanted it with all their heart, that’s all there is to it. The old Gerrer Rebbe said to one of his chassidim “you think you don’t have a good head like the Rashba? You don’t have such a good head like the Rambam? You know why they were so big? Because they mamesh wanted it so much… they wanted it so much.”

Now listen to me, without getting too involved with it. Ya’akov Avinu has two enemies. Lavan mamesh wants to kill Ya’akov, he wants to wipe him out. You know what Esav wants? Why didn’t him come and kill Ya’akov when he was by Lavan? He knew where he is. Esav doesn’t mind Ya’akov assimilated, living in Dallas or Brooklyn, he just didn’t want him to come to Erets Yisroel. And here is the Ishbitser torah. The Gemara says ‘Kol Hadar Bechutz La’arets Keilu Ein Lo Eloka’, if you live outside Israel G-d is not really shining into it. ‘Kol Hadar Be’erets Yisrael Dome . You know what it is? Erets Yisroel does not only mean the physical Erets Yisroel, it means this G-dly awareness in the world. This is what Esav doesn’t want. You want to be a little shlepper yid, you want to drive to Yom Kippur to shul I don’t mind. You give money to UJA? Okay. You belong to Bnai Brith, without saying anything bad? That’s okay. Esav is also a rich person. Esav wants to prove to you that you are not for real, Esav wants to prove to you that you are not for real.

And one more thing, when Ya’akov says “look at Bilha and Zilpa, you know where they reach? Because I am working so hard, they are also reaching. Look at Leah and Rachel, going back also. Not only are they reaching because of me. This is a Gevalt torah from the Ishbitser. Not only when the man is learning Torah the woman is also reaching a higher level, but because of my wife I am reaching a higher level in learning Torah. For one moment Esav was so touched, he could not believe that such a thing exists. You know what he could not believe? That there is one family in the world that is so together. I cannot believe that there is somebody who is one with his doge’le. And here I want you to know something awesome. When Ya’akov Avinu saw our holy mother Rachel coming the medrash asks how Ya’akov knew it was Rachel? So it says “Vehine Rachel Ba’a Im Hatzon”, it says that Rachel came with the sheep. Have you ever seen a Shepard going with the sheep? This one goes here, this one runs here, this one goes this way and that way. Do you know what he saw by Rachel? All the sheep were so close to Rachel, all the shepsalach want to be close to her. They were walking with her, and this is a Gevalt.

Besides what the Zohar Hakadosh says. Everybody knows that Rachel is crying and she is bringing Yidden back to Erets Yisroel. So he says ‘Vehine Rachel Ba’a Im Hatzon’, he could see that Rachel is mamesh bringing back the tzon kedoshim, mamesh Gevalt.

You know what it is? On one hand I have to serve G-d every second, but on the other hand, do you know what is so special about yiddishkeit? There is no guarantee. It is possible to serve G-d every second and I don’t reach anywhere. We don’t have signs that if we keep the torah you go to paradise, you know what it is? You know what Reb Elimelech says, if for every mitzvah (I think he says this although it sounds weird) we would go to hell where would I go? I don’t care, I mamesh want to do a mitzvah. When I love somebody very much I am doing them a favor because I want them to love me.

One more very very deep thing. We are so influenced by the outside world. What was Avraham Avinu all about? He and Sara broke away from the world. Here is Esav, he mamesh wants to tear away Ya’akov forever. ‘Vayivaser Ya’akov Levado’, Ya’akov reached the level that he has the strength and the power to be alone. When we are alone in something we give up.

I want you to know friends, what is the deepest depths of yiddishkeit? It’s not only serving G-d, the deepest depths is that everybody has to fulfill the deepest depths of their own heart and soul. The way I have to live is as if I am alone in the world, nobody can else can do it. What do we sometimes miss? We go to so-called orthodox shuls, everybody keep Shabbos but they are all the same. The same bagels, there is no individuality. Let’s say when you go to yeshiva, who are the good guys? Ordinarily everybody says the same thing. The moment you are mamesh really great you are already something else. The Holy Ba’al Shem Tov, let’s say the Seer of Lublin had hundreds of students, who are the ones who were special? The ones who had their own way. Ropshitz is not Ziditchov, Ziditchov is not the Yid Hakadosh, everybody mamesh, Gevalt they brought out their deepest depths of their neshama.

Ya’akov Avinu is ‘Vayivaser Ya’akov Levado’, Ya’akov Avinu is mamesh saying to G-d “I want to serve you with the deepest deepest depths of my way, just me and the world”. You know, it’s clear to you and to me that I will never be like Abraham but what I can do Abraham couldn’t do. I have to do something else, Moshe Rabbeinu did something else and the Ba’al Shem Tov did something else.

The most important thing is that everyone has to find out what they look like when they are closest to G-d. “Tzuraso Shel Y’aakov Avinu Chakuka Bekise Hakavod”. The question is, how do I look like up there? Every person in the world, it’s so heartbreaking. Some of us, all of us, we need so much to bring out the deepest deepest depths of our being, of our neshama. I can keep Shabbos like everybody else, daven, make Kiddush and eat gefilte fish. Then I eat chicken, bentsch and go to sleep. In the morning I wake up… nothing to do with me. Each time I do what I need to do my neshama is coming out. I cannot tell you what to do because I don’t know what your neshama needs. The Holy Tzanser says that what we need the most is not write black and white in the Torah. If every single thing would be written down, black on white, who needs G-d? Because I don’t know how to do it and each second I ask the Ribbono Shel Olam to bless me to have the privilege of making it mamesh….

I’ll tell you, you go to the Bobover Rebbe… it’s a different Shabbos. Kloizenberger Rebbe, different Shabbos. Yeah, it’s all Shabbos but whatever the depths of their neshama brings down is how it is.

Learning too, do you know how many ways there are to learn Torah? There is not one way, there are thousands of ways. The Gemara says that there are seventy ways and each way is another seventy ways. And each one of those seventy is another seventy, it’s endless.

So Esav says to Ya’akov “we don’t reach anywhere and it doesn’t reach you anywhere”. So that night Ya’akov was fighting with the angel of Esav. It was not a fist fight, it’s covering from here all the way up to heaven. They were fighting because Esav wants Ya’akov to believe that he doesn’t need it either.

I want you to know friends, if someone walks up to you and says to you “who are you fooling, you don’t mean it either”, it’s the angel of Esav coming to you. You know what it means when it says that they were fighting till the morning? They are fighting until Mashiach is coming and every one of us has to fight this too. Esav might come to you once a day, he might come to you every Shabbos and every Yomtov. He says to you “who are you fooling? I know you don’t give a damn. Look here, you have worked hard for so long and you haven’t reached it anyway”. So he takes dust and covers your face up, you can’t even see yourself anymore. You start saying to yourself “maybe it’s true, maybe I really am a piece of dust”.

And here is one more Torah. Esav is claiming that you are dust because you work so hard and you still can’t reach anywhere. Esav has one more claim, Esav says you work so hard and you still don’t stop doing aveiras, like all of us. So he says to Ya’akov “what good is it? What you are doing is dust, your Shabbos has no ta’am, your learning has no ta’am, and on top of everything else you are doing so many aveiras. There is no hope for you. So Ya’akov Avinu says “Ve’ata Amarta Heitev Ativ Imach”, and the way it is stupidly translated is that Ya’akov says to G-d “Promise me you will be good to me”. What does it mean by Ya’akov that G-d will be good to him? He’ll give him money in the bank and he will have money to pay taxes? No. Do you know what Ya’akov says to G-d? Can you promise me that even my aveiras will turn into zchuyos? That even all my wrong doings will eventually will turn into good. The Gemara says that by Teshuva Me’ahava Zedonos Na’asim Lo Kezchuyos. Every time you look at a mistake you made it gives you the strength the change. This means that when looking back all mistakes are part of us becoming good, there is no mistake. So this is so beautiful, and the Gemara says “I am G-d before you sinned, I am G-d after you sinned”. Before Ya’akov Avinu fights with Esav he says to G-d ‘mamesh, make it clear to me that I will know that I can never get away from G-d. Because even if I will do the biggest aveira you will turn it over.

So you see, Ya’akov Avinu didn’t want to live until G-d shows him that it is impossible to get away from G-d, impossible. The Heilige Ziditchover said that the Seer of Lublin did not move his eye-lid if it was not in the service of G-d.

Ya’akov Avinu sent all his angels to Esav, what were the angels? Rashi says ‘malachim mamesh’. The angels are his mitzvahs, and here I want you to know something so deep. Imagine, I tell you I keep Shabbos, would you be able to know if I kept it with all my heart or not? You will never know. Imagine you can see the angel which was created by my Shabbos, then you would be able to see if it was completely or not. The Rebbe Reb Zusha said that he was up in heaven and he saw the angels that were created by our good deeds. Nebech, one has no feet, one has no hands and one has no arms. One has no kishkes, one has no heart. Nebech, all those little cripples hanging out there in heaven. This is so deep. So Ya’akov Avinu sent his angels to Esav to show him what his mitzvahs looked like.

Now this is something even deeper. Obviously, the deepest fixing of the Tree of Knowledge was when Ya’akov was fighting with the angel of Esav. By Esav everything is good or bad. Ya’akov Avinu is not interested in good or bad, Ya’akov Avinu just mamesh wants to be close to G-d. Do you know what the medrash says about ‘Vayivaser Ya’akov Levado’? Ya’akov Avinu wants to feel that there really is nothing but G-d. Levado, there is only one G-d, there is nothing else. So he mamesh wanted to be on that level. If I buy apples then maybe it’s enough for me to know that there is one G-d. But there are certain moments that I mamesh need the strength to know that there is nothing but G-d, there is no G-d. And before I fight Esav I have got to know this otherwise I can’t do it. Oy yoy, what’s gonna be folks?

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