Vayishlach: Chapter 17

Every beginning is difficult


Rabbi Yosi and Rabbi Elazar discuss the idea that the beginning of any manifestation involves strain and death, which is later followed by relief and ease. Thus, Rachel's death after the birth of Benyamin was a necessary sacrifice in order that the Shechinah could resume Her proper place. Similarly, on Rosh Hashanah (the New Year) the world passes under severe Judgment, followed by relief, forgiveness, and atonement on Yom Kippur. The reason for this, Rabbi Elazar explains, is that the beginning is from the left side, which brings harsh Judgment until the right side is aroused and provides relief. However, for idolaters the reverse is true. God shall first treat them gently and then later He will destroy them.


Each new beginning in our lives represents the seed of all that will follow. The birth of a child, the outset of a new business enterprise, the start of a marriage - these are all examples of beginnings. Through the mystical words of the sages appearing in this ancient text, we help infuse our beginnings with extraordinary Light and positive energy, so that the seed of all that comes afterward is healthy and strong. We derive the strength to endure through the strains and obstacles of beginnings, and to accelerate the arrival of relief and fruition.