A covenant to remember…..

Shabbat Kodesh Parshat Vayetze

Our sages describe Yaakov Avinu as the “Choicest of the Patriarchs”.  His twelve children all remained “within the family”. This, in contrast to Avraham Avinu, who had a son Yishmael, and Yitzchak, whose son Esav did not continue the family tradition in the way his parents wished for. 

The question is, what did Yaakov do right,  so that he merits having 12 (!) sons going his way, while his righteous father and grandfather did not have this success, even with a much smaller family of two sons each?

I am sure there are many better explanations than the following one. The Torah however has “seventy facets”. It allows us to try our own way.

Following closely the weekly Parsha over the last four weeks, we can clearly see one element the Torah mentions regarding Yaakov Avinu much more frequently than with regard to Avraham and Yitzchak. Yaakov’s emotions.  These are clear at the point at which he meets Rachel – warmth, affection to his cousin as soon as he meets her.  The warmth to Rachel becomes a stumbling block in the relationship with Leah. But as the family grows, this relationship has warmed up too. 

The charged encounter with Esav, which turns from what could have been a tragic fatal event, into a warm and emotional reunion, is another example demonstrating Yaakov Avinu’s deep emotional approach to events. Even Yaakov Avinu’s special affection to Yosef, which has resulted in a medium term dangerous feud between his children, was another example of a hearty and emotional approach. 

While we lack so much information about the real life of our holy forefathers, the mere fact that the Torah tells us so much more about Yaakov Avinu’s feelings than those of Avraham and Yitzchak Avinu, might be an important indication.

We may ask: Could this be (one of) the secret(s) of Yaakov’s success? 

Shabbat Shalom and warm regards

Rabbi Chaim Michael Biberfeld