Torah Fax

Friday, November 19, 2004 - 6 Kislev, 5765

Torah Reading: Vayetzei (Genesis 28:10 - 32:3)
Candle Lighting time: 4:16 PM
Shabbat ends: 5:18 PM

A Thousand Fold Blessing

This week's Parshah of VaYetzei tells us how Jacob worked for his uncle Laban for 20 years. During that time, Jacob was allowed to marry Laban's two daughters, Leah and Rachel, and their family established the nucleus of the Jewish nation.

Both Laban and Jacob realized that Laban's herds had been blessed greatly through Jacob's efforts.  Laban said: "the L-rd has blessed me for your sake." Jacob declared that "you had little before I came and it has increased abundantly. The L-rd has blessed you wherever I have turned."
The Zohar, the primary work of Kabbalah, discusses two opinions concerning the extent of the increase Jacob brought to Laban's flocks. One opinion says that his herds increased one hundred-fold. Rabbi Abba, however, teaches that his flocks increased one thousand times, since a blessing from above never results in less than a thousand-fold increase.
What difference does it really make if Laban's flocks were blessed and increased 100 times or 1,000 times through Jacob's efforts?
The number 100 represents total completeness. If ten is a complete number, then ten times ten indicates completeness to the minutest detail. Thus, a blessing of a hundred-fold increase means that the natural blessing is complete and perfect. According to this opinion, Laban's herds - and therefore his wealth - were blessed with perfection both in quantity and quality.
The number 1,000, however, indicates that something has gone beyond the laws and limitations of nature entirely. For this reason, the Hebrew word for 1,000 is Eleph, the letters of which can be rearranged to spell "peleh - wonder." When something occurs one thousand times, it means it is wondrous and miraculous; it is outside of the common experience. According to this opinion, Laban was not just blessed with complete and perfect success - his success was above and beyond - it was incomparable to any level of income anyone had ever seen.
The difference between the numbers 100 and 1,000 is reflected in the different roles the Jewish nation and the nations of the world have in creation. G‑d's purpose for the nations of the world is to bring perfection to the natural order of the world. By virtue of their observance of the Seven Noachide Laws, that are geared to preserving the civility of society. The nations of the world ensure that the world will survive, exist and thrive, within the context of nature.
By contrast, the Jewish people's role is to introduce the "other worldly" into the world. That is why the existence of the Jews has never been bound to natural forces. Despite all odds, the Jews have survived and flourished. This is because our existence is based on our miraculous and supernatural connection. Because of this connection, we can introduce G‑d into the world and teach that there is a reality which transcends nature entirely.
One lesson for us is clear: though a Jew may find himself in the midst of a non-Jewish nation, he must realize his dependence is totally in G‑d's hands, and therefore not be intimidated to do the Mitzvot or spread a G‑dly message. He must not mistakenly think his surroundings aren't ready for the supernatural.
Ultimately, we will bring this thousand-fold blessing to the entire world. This will occur when the interaction between all peoples of the world, including the Jewish world, will be totally peaceful and beneficial. May this happen speedily in hour days.
Moshiach Matters
We have arrived at the time of Redemption, as it is stated, "For my deliverance is close at hand and the days until redemption are close." Unlike the previous years where great toil was necessary, today, even a little can suffice... for the redemption is "waiting behind the door" as our Sages have already stated in their time, "All the deadlines have passed, it depends only upon our repentance." How much more so does it apply today: Now is the time, as is well known. (Chidushei Torah of the Satmar Rebbe, R' Yoel Teitelbaum)   
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