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Parashat Vayeseh – Living Free


Yaakob’s only material request is bread to eat and clothing to wear.

The Talmud gives worldly advice in the statement, “one who eats fatty meat may need to hide in the attic, but one who eats vegetables may do so in an open field” (Pesahim 114A).

Many people live beyond their means and sink into deep debt.  Whether they must then hide in the attic to escape their creditors or whether they mortgage themselves so heavily that the debt burden crushes them, the message of our sages is clear.  Live within your means, and you can be free, live beyond your means, and you become a fugitive.

Even though Yaacob Abinu grew up with extreme wealth, as his father Yis’hak is described as being “exceedingly wealthy”, he was not dependent on that lifestyle for his emotional well being.

All too often rational people assume crushing debt with progressively consuming interest payments for the short-term pleasurable experience of an expensive vacation or the need to show he has the lifestyle that his friends and relatives could be envious of.

Yaacov teaches us to live within the means of whatever G-d has granted.