A Little is Good Too

You do not always win every war. The Portion teaches us an important principle in the struggle of life. In preparation of his encounter with Esau, Yaacov divides his family and property into two camps. Why? “And he said: ‘If Esau will come to the one camp, and smite it, then the camp which is left shall escape.'” Rabbi Nachman of Breslov explains that Yaacov sets here a rule for generations: not every time will we be able to excel in every challenge and in every task. Therefore, we must understand and internalize the fact that a little is good too, that even a partial achievement is an achievement. Yaacov did not despair and did not give everything up, but tried to divide, to disperse risks, to try to save at least part of what he had.

Rabbi Nachman describes a person who wants to learn and pray and behave towards others perfectly, but cannot do so. What is his advice? Not to stop, G-d forbid, but to try to succeed at least partially, to try to snatch something small, to learn a bit, to pray a little, to help someone once. Getting to a shiur late or only from time to time is better than never showing up and waiting for the perfect conditions. Excellence is the enemy of the very good. Rabbi Nachman repeats in his commentary again and again the word “to snatch”. It seems to me that in our technological and fast-paced generation, it is especially suitable. Even if you do not have all the time in the world to start learning from the beginning, and to learn thoroughly – snatch a bit.
And this is what you did in the last minute – you snatched a bit.

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סיון רהב-מאיר

Sivan Rahav-Meir is a media personality and lecturer. Married to Yedidya, the mother of five. Lives in Jerusalem. She works for Israel TV news, writes a column for Yediot Aharonot newspaper, and hosts a weekly radio show on Galei Zahal (Army Radio). Her lectures on the weekly Torah portion are attended by hundreds and the live broadcast attracts thousands more listeners throughout the world.
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