To Have it All – Parshas Vayishlach

Yaakov met up with Eisav in a most dramatic confrontation. Two worlds clashed. Yaakov represented ruchniyus, spiritual sensitivity, and Eisav represented gashmiyus, physicality. The difference is most significant. It is the difference between happiness and misery. It is the difference between life and death. Yaakov told Eisav, “I have everything (kol)” (Berieshis 33:11). Eisav on the other hand said about himself “I have a lot (rav)” (Bereishis 33:9). This represents the focus on material wealth and possessions. When someone is deeply rooted in that outlook, he can amass “a lot” but he will always feel lacking. He will perpetually remain vulnerable to loss and feel insecure and unsatisfied. Yaakov teaches us to focus on spiritual ideals, to be “happy with our lot” (Avos 4:1). This way one recognizes that Hashem is the One Who provides and Who gives us all that we need.

In Birchas HaMazone we say, “Bakol, Mikol, Kol.” This refers to the words “kol” that are used in reference to the three Avos. This kol means that they appreciated life and were granted the greatest blessing of happiness and fulfillment. By Avraham it says (Bereishis 24:1), “Hashem blessed Avraham with everything (bakol).” By Yitzchok it is found after Yaakov stole the berachos and Eisav came in and asked his father to bless him. Yitzchok asked Eisav (Bereishis 27:33), “…who was just in here that fed me, and I ate from it all (“mikol”) and I blessed him…” By Yaakov it is found in our Parsha when Yaakov told Eisav, “I have it all (“kol”)” (Bereishis 33:11). [See Pesikta Rabbasi 25:4.]

What needs to be understood is the general theme here and the prefixes. It is fascinating that by Avraham the word “kol” has the prefix of bais (bakol) before it which means “inside,” this hints to Avraham’s trait of Kindness within. He constantly found himself inside Hashem’s warmth, generosity and chessed. Avraham showed the world how to find Hashem through acknowledging all of the kindness and beauty that surrounds us as a gift from Hashem. It was precisely in the merit of Avraham’s service of recognizing Hashem’s kindness and spreading it to the world that brought Avraham the blessing of “all,” spiritual happiness and success. By Yitzchok, the word ‘all’ is found as “mikol, from all.” The prefix of mem, means ‘from.’ This is represents the trait of Yitzchok of gevurah, strength, the process of Avodah, giving our full effort towards the service of Hashem, giving from ourselves in order to fully serve Hashem. By Yaakov, who was the man who represented the culmination of the Avos, who ties together the traits of chessed and gevurah and balanced them with tiferes, beauty and splendor, the word is found as simply “kol” without any prefix. This hints to the delicate balance of serving Hashem with a focus on His kindness and a dedication to give one’s full effort. Yaakov achieved this service and merited to have it all. The Avos teach us how to use this world to grow and that one who does this will be blessed with an inspiring, deeply purposeful, and truly fulfilling life.