11 Cheshvan 5782 / Sunday, October 17, 2021 | Torah Reading: Vayeira
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Vayishlach: I Have Everything    

Vayishlach: I Have Everything

Our forefather Jacob knew in every fiber of his being that he had absolutely everything he needed, and if he lacked anything, it wasn’t really a lack at all…


Parshat Vayishlach
In this week’s weekly Torah portion of Vayishlach we find a fascinating discussion between our forefather Yaakov Avinu and his twin brother and arch-enemy, Esau.  Esau asks Yaakov why he wants to give him a tribute – after all, he says, “yesh li rav” – I have a lot (Bereishit, 33:9).  In Yaakov’s response, he plies Esau to take the tribute, saying, “yesh li kol” – I have everything (Bereishit, 33:11).  Rashi comments on this verse that Yaakov spoke with humility, essentially saying that he had everything he needed, while Esau spoke with arrogance, flaunting his wealth by stating that he had much more than he could ever need.
We can learn a valuable lesson in emuna from Rashi’s comment.  Our forefather Yaakov Avinu was on a spiritual level that we can hardly even imagine.  He certainly understood one of the main principles of emuna: that whatever you have is what you need, and truly everything you need, you have.  He didn’t worry about the future because he knew that certainly Hashem would take care of him and his needs, whatever he currently does or does not possess.  He also wasn’t jealous of anyone either, because he knew that Hashem always supplied his every true need – hence, he could say that he had everything, because he knew in every fiber of his being that he had absolutely everything he needed, and if he lacked something, it wasn’t really a lack at all!
Esau, on the other hand, needed to have much more than he needed because his wealth was not l’shem Shamayim – for the sake of Heaven, to be used for a holy purpose.  He wanted everyone to know how wealthy and rich he was, and since he didn’t trust Hashem to take care of him, he certainly wanted to have some fat savings in the bank for a rainy day.  But notice – no matter how much he had, he would never have been able to say that he had everything, because someone whose focus is material wealth is never satisfied.
Aside from this beautiful answer, there is an even deeper aspect that I have only recently had the privilege to understand and experience.
Someone who does not have a personal connection to Hashem is always lacking something, no matter what they have.  They can have a lot or a little, but they can never have everything because something deep inside is always empty, even if they can't put their finger on it.  A man on the more physical side of the spectrum might try to fill this nagging hole with entertainment, sports and the like.  Women often try to fill the hole with the proverbial boyfriend, food, or both.  In the worst cases, people turn to illicit sex, drugs, and alcohol to fill the emptiness inside them.  Indeed, we see Hollywood stars and popular singers who have “rav” – they have so much – and yet they are miserable, depressed, and often in tremendous amounts of debt to boot! 
If you don’t have emuna and talk to Hashem every day, then no matter how much you have – and you may have a lot – you will never find true satisfaction because your soul is still be starving.  You can't be truly happy if your soul – which is a true part of your being that cannot be ignored – is destitute.  As long as your soul is impoverished, then your entire being is not being addressed and hence, a person can never feel the deep satisfaction of having “everything.”  Nothing in this physical world can satiate a soul – it can just silence it, because something on a physical plane cannot address something on a spiritual plane.
On the other hand, someone with emuna and a personal connection to Hashem who speaks to Hashem every day like a loving friend has absolutely everything, no matter what they may seem to lack in the physical world.  They don’t only live with the emuna principle outlined above: that if they truly need something, they have it, or will get it when they do need it and it is best for them.  They live with a deep happiness, an inner satisfaction that cannot be put into words.  This spiritual connection to Hashem, this feeling that swells forth from the recesses of their soul, fills their entire body with a feeling of fulfillment and contentedness that overwhelms any physical worry or issue because you can't compare the two levels of pleasure.
This simchas hachaim – true joy in life itself – is not something that can be artificially created by anything physical or supplemented otherwise.  It only comes from the spiritual connection to Hashem that is created when a person talks with Hashem on a regular basis and makes Hashem part and parcel of every part of their life and being.  If one is practicing proper hisbodedus, they should leave every session with a little tiny spark of this simcha inside them – indeed, if you don’t feel the simcha, then it wasn’t true hisbodedus!  Over time, the feeling builds and expands, until it isn’t something that is felt right after hisbodedus and then fades, but continues to fill their entire day, no matter what else a person might be struggling with.
On a deep level, this simcha is the key element that enables us to fulfill the mitzvot properly.  When you feel this joy, it’s hard to get angry with another person or fight about pettiness – so you are better able to keep the commandments between man and fellow man.  Certainly, by feeling Hashem with you at all times, you are far better equipped to connect to Him in your direct service of Him as well.  You rejoice in every additional opportunity to serve Him, and are honestly afraid of sinning since you don’t want to lose this special connection and happiness that you feel for anything in the world.  Since nothing in this physical world can make you feel this beyond-this-world pleasure, none of it’s worth it!
Even more, questions like “how do I maintain happiness while I still feel a lack in my life?” because a person lacks a soul mate, or children, or a job, or whatever – completely go away!  There is no lack because the connection to Hashem fills everything!  Everything is filled with simcha from the true connection to Hashem a person has, and therefore no pain in the physical world is even felt as a true lack because there is no space in the first place.  Therefore, while they certainly continue to pray for whatever they want and don’t yet have, they are already full inside and can serve Hashem with true simcha at every moment – one of the greatest mitzvot there is.  Hence, they can say from the bottom of their hearts – yesh li kol – I have everything! 

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