Hear Rabbi Jack Melul talk about an important message that Jacob (יעקב) first shared with his brother, and how it connects to the story of Chanuka (חנוכה). After running away from his brother, Jacob lived with his uncle Lavan (לבן), who was an evil guy. Years later he tells his brother that he kept all 613 mitzvot (מצוות), and not only that he did it without being influenced by his uncle’s bad ways. The question remains, why did that matter? Why was not being influenced by the bad ways change the fact that he kept all 613 mitzvot?
Judaism wants us to do things with our heart. It prefers intentions over actions, and require no connection to bad influence. In short it says that doing less with good intentions is better than doing more with bad intentions. By not following his uncle’s bad intentions, Jacob did the mitzvot in full heart and with good intentions. He did not do the mitzvot just because you are supposed to.
Parshat Vayshlach (פרשת וישלח) normally falls on Chanuka. A holiday where the Greeks wanted our hearts. They loved and appreciated our wisdom, but didn’t want us to have our spiritual connection and Jewish identity. Something that is known as the most important level of being Jewish. Part of Judaism is doing it with love and with a full heart. Showing and feeling the relationship and connection we have with our creator.
To hear the full message and answer in the week’s torah portion, click the video above.
AishLIT Los Angeles