Parashat Vayishlach 5778–Paul Magy’s Shabbat Torah Study–The Lord Helps Those who Help Themselves

This week’s Parasha reunites Eisav and Jacob for the first time in at least 20 years (some say 34).

Jacob prepares for this dangerous and fearful meeting in three (3) ways — gifts, preparation for battle and prayer.

For a man of Jacob’s faith, blessing and connection with God, why wouldn’t prayer be enough?

There is a reason for the saying that the Lord helps those who help themselves. Jacob’s preparations, PLUS prayer establish the important precedent that we must first expend our own energies and resources to bring the good we are looking for.

Of course, we see doctors, buy life insurance to protect our loved ones and much more. We ask God’s assistance in our lives and with our struggles, but show God that we care enough to be making our own efforts too.

In the end, Jacob (now renamed Israel) was successful.

Jacob struggled with and succeeded against the Angel of Eisav and his prayers for a safe (and non-eventful) reunion with Eisav were answered.

May you be successful in all of your struggles with evil and, with strong and positive efforts on your part, may all of your prayers for good be answered favorably as well.

We learn with Ruth Bergman this Shabbat at 9:45 a.m. She says that part of her shiur will include the symbolic mathematical properties of the ages of the patriarchs. Learning with our Shabbat Torah Study is a great way to be prepared for our daily struggles (apparently this week too if math is one of your struggles). I am confident her session will be fantastic as it always is. The Torah Study is completely informal, casual and friendly. One hour. Come as you are. Stay as long as you like.

Stay for the sermon and the rest of a wonderful Shabbat experience if you like…or not. No judging. Just incredible learning.

Shabbat shalom my friends,


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