First, I would like to take the opportunity to give a very special thanks to Mrs. Rachel Lewin, who chaired our auction in cooperation with Torah Academy of Boston. Due to her diligent efforts the program was successful for the school. I would also like to congratulate the many winners from the PHDS family who took home some of the top prizes being auctioned this year. We thank all the volunteers who assisted Mrs. Lewin, as well as all the supporters who purchased tickets. Please remember that although the school has other fundraisers and ongoing solicitations, each of our fundraisers is needed 100 percent, and the funds allow the school to maintain its daily operations and obligations.
This week’s Torah portion highlights the anticipated meeting between two brothers after many years of separation. Yaakov has fled his home and the wrath of his brother Eisov. When they meet, Eisov is quite upset that Yaakov has achieved wealth, as he understood that the blessing of affluence was his, as opposed to the blessing of Yaakov, which was Torah. He said, “I gave up my World to Come because I am unable to relinquish my personal lusts and desires, but now I see that one can have both – so I don’t want to relinquish my World to Come.” Yaakov answers Eisov by explaining that whereas Eisov’s life goals were to fulfill his lusts and desires, Yaakov’s materialism was all dedicated to help him serve Hashem.
In the sefer Ohel Moshe on Parshas Vayishlach, the author relates the story of a wealthy man who traveled overseas each year on business. As he needed to provide for his family and wanted to minimize his time away from home, he was busy day and night with his business dealings. Every deal brought him a few hours closer to home! One day he was visited by his Rav, who asked him why he was acting like a non-Jew in his pursuit of materialism to the exclusion of all else. He asked him what his purpose in life was and why was he created – to achieve wealth? The man listened to his Rav and proceeded to throw all his business documents on the floor, showing that he had accepted the Rav’s rebuke. When the Rav turned to him angrily once again and asked what he was doing, telling him to gather all his documents and put them away, the businessman was totally confused, until the Rav explained, “Of course you are obligated to occupy yourself with business in support of your family! When I noticed that you were totally preoccupied with business, I wanted to remind you that unlike the rest of the world that views material acquisition as a life goal, we are different. We view our material gains as a means to better ourselves in our study of Torah and service of Hashem.”
Over the past few weeks, one of our students made a siyum for his bar mitzva on all six tractates of Mishna and on Friday night the beis midrash was filled with families and their children studying Torah. These families had already integrated the message and understood that our weekly jobs and material pursuits are all worthless unless our goals are pointed toward our study of Torah, observance of mitzvos and service of Hashem. We look forward to sharing together the many accomplishments of our students and their families.
Rabbi Peretz Scheinerman