Galut Lessons

Shavua Tov. Rabbi Soloveitchik makes several references from our Parsha as to how we are to learn from the examples of our patriarchs survival techniques while living in the Galut.

Yakov Avinu showed how to survive in poverty and Yosef Hatzaddik showed how it can be done in a situation of wealth and power.

Yakov had to deal with Lavan in Padan Aram. He remained a stranger during the entire twenty years he spent there. The Talmud speaks of one who settles in a new city. After thirty days, he is considered יושב העיר, one who dwells in the city. After twelve months, he is considered אנשי העיר, one of the regular residents of that place.

In the case of Yakov, he remained a גר, a stranger, and never allowed himself to be assimilated into that community. 

In the case of Yosef, he never forgot the teachings of his father. Even after he became a powerful leader, he remembered his origins and did not allow his fame and status to get to him.

Jews throughout the ages have had to find similar challenges. The examples set by Yakov and Yosef always remained an inspiration for following generations.