The Blessing of Necessity


 Necessity is the mother of attraction.  -Luke McKissack 


Jacob has an emotional reunion with Esau, his twin brother who wanted to kill him 20 years earlier. In preparation for the potentially explosive meeting, Jacob sends multiple flocks of various domesticated animals as a gift to his estranged brother.

Esau, in an understandable display of magnanimity declines the extremely valuable and generous gifts and states “I have a lot, brother. You should keep what’s yours.” However, Jacob is not to be dissuaded and gives a long speech pressuring Esau to accept the gift, finally stating “I have all.” Esau yields and accepts the gift.

The Sfat Emet in 5634 (1874) explains that there is a significant difference between having “a lot” and having “all.” Having a lot is the trait of the wicked Esau, who has more than he needs and may even boast of his wealth. To such individuals God gives more than necessary and that is the end of further divine care or involvement in their lives. The extreme material wealth and success they have may be the extent of their reward for the meager good they have done in their lives. No more rewards or happiness will come their way, in this world, or the next.

However, the trait of the righteous Jacob is to be content with what he has. It is all he needs. It is sufficient. God continually makes sure he has everything he needs at the time and nothing more. Nothing extraneous is given until such a time as it is needed. A person who requests and just gets his current necessities on a regular basis is likened to a vessel that can continually receive God’s blessings.

Furthermore, the righteous when they request their needs do not do so out of a sense of entitlement, thinking that somehow they deserve it. They realize that these are underserved gifts from God that we request in humility. God, out of a sense of benevolence grants us our daily necessities.

When a person realizes this reality and as the Mishna in Pirket Avot states, is happy with their portion, then they are truly wealthy.

Shabbat Shalom,



To Mauricio Macri on his successful election as the new President of Argentina. We hope that he is what the country and the continent needs.







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