Parashat Vayishlach

By Rabbi Aharon Seleh: In this week’s Parsha, Rashi explains the message Yakov sent Eisav. Yakov told Eisav “I kept the 613 mitzvos while staying with Lavan, but I did not learn from his actions.” Chacham Ovadia zatzal quotes Rav Moshe Shapiro zatzal that in fact Yakov wasn’t boasting about his actions; rather he was lamenting not learning from Lavan. Lavan did his bad deeds with such enthusiasm and zeal! Such passion. How he wished he had preformed the mitzvos in that manner!

Ben Ish Chai brings a parable about how the yetzer hora convinced a religious young man to go to a coffee shop for the first time in his life. He saw men playing backgammon, completely engrossed in the game. The game took hours, and the young man became restless and left. When he got home, he started crying. Those men in the coffee shop had been playing with such passion, sweat pouring down their faces. Their coffee getting cold. They were able to concentrate for hours. How he wished his Torah and mitzvot were done with a similar passion.

We should all take a lesson for life. Many times we do things with a great passion, whether related to business, vacation or just a game. We should ask ourselves: are our Torah and Mitzvot done with similar passion?