The Daily Portion
Patience: not available on Amazon Prime

I discovered two incredible details in this week's Torah portion

Sivan Rahav-Meir ,

מצליחה להביא את הטוב מכל המגזרים. סיון רהב-מאיר
מצליחה להביא את הטוב מכל המגזרים. סיון רהב-מאיר
צילום: אייל בן יעיש

What was the most quintessentially American phenomenon we encountered during our stay in the United States last year? Without a doubt, it was Amazon Prime. This is a service of Amazon, the Internet technology company that sells anything and everything.

As a member of Amazon Prime, you receive your order at your front door within 24 hours. This sounds like a technical innovation but it’s much more than that. After a while, you get used to this American state of mind: if you want something, you get it right away. Order it now and tomorrow it’s in your hands.

In Israel, it's not like we still draw water from a well, but there is still a difference. In America, consumer culture carries a message: Everything is available right now, so who needs restraint, planning or patience.

On the other hand, what stands out most in the Book of Genesis? Patience, expectation, a brilliant but far off future. Avraham Avinu was not privileged to see God's promises come true in his lifetime. Nor did Yitzchak experience instant gratification or effortless reward. Our patriarchs and matriarchs worked hard for every valuable thing: to find their better half, to become pregnant, to properly educate their children.

I discovered an incredible detail in this week's Torah portion: Yitzchak married at the age of 40 and became a father at the age of 60. When the Torah describes Yitzchak and Rivka standing and praying in opposite corners of the same room, it appears that this is a one-time prayer. Yet, it turns out that this prayer lasted for 20 consecutive years.

Not everything in life is available on Amazon Prime. For the important things in life, an investment of time and effort is necessary.

And another detail: The effect of weariness

Are you weary these days? if so, try reading this week's Torah portion. Many commentators speak about the differences between wicked Esau and righteous Yaakov. But before they do, the Torah describes one major factor that influences the choices of the evil Esau: weariness. Indeed, Esau agrees to sell his birthright to Yaakov for a bowl of lentil stew after returning weary from the hunt and announcing: "I am weary."

Weariness causes Esau loss of concentration, impaired judgment, jitteriness, and lack of motivation. Esau is prone to weariness and gluttony. He was not refined enough to appreciate spiritual matters such as a birthright - that perpetuates a family's legacy. Perhaps before asking if you are righteous or evil, it is worthwhile to ask: Are you weary?

The code of Jewish law or Shulchan Aruch opens with the instruction to "strengthen yourself like a lion to get up in the morning to serve your Creator." In other words, we must make an effort to strengthen ourselves in order to get out of bed in the morning. This is of course true, but I once heard from Yemima Mizrahi that today, in light of all the distractions and temptations of late night hours, in light of the lack of sleep that characterizes most of our lives, in light of our tendency to postpone our bed time, perhaps it is not enough to just strengthen ourselves in the morning, but we should also "strengthen ourselves like a lion to cut ourselves off from everything at night - and go to bed on time."

• Translation by Yehoshua Siskin



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