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Rabbi Pini Dunner - Shiur on Vayishlach (2015)Rabbi Dunner takes a look at the strange story that recounts the encounter between Yaakov and the mysterious “man” that we are informed was Esav’s angel. Why did Yaakov take off on his own? Who was this mysterious individual who he encountered? Why did this wrestling match even happen? Who won, and why? There is so much about this story that makes no sense. Through textual analysis, and with the help of selected commentaries, Rabbi Dunner helps to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
Rabbi Pini Dunner - VayeitzeiRabbi Dunner examines the opening section of Parshat Vayeitzei, which vividly describes Yaakov’s famous dream as he leaves Canaan on his way to Haran. The imagery of a ladder rising into the heavens, with angels going up and down, has fascinated commentators and philosophers in every era. But what does the imagery mean? Why did God choose this method to convey His covenant to Yaakov? How is one to understand Yaakov’s cryptic reaction? The entire episode is loaded with mysteries and hidden meanings. Rabbi Dunner explores a range of commentaries to try and unravel the mysteries, although only the Netivot Shalom seems to offer a viable model that truly opens up this episode in a satisfying and meaningful way.
Rabbi Pini Dunner - ToldotThis week Rabbi Dunner looked at the vexing story of Isaac’s blessings. Intended for Esau, it was Jacob who ended up getting them, through a web subterfuge and trickery. Esau was understandably devastated. There is so much that is baffling about this story that it almost seems beyond any attempt to understand it. Why did Isaac not see through Esau? Or if he did, why would he have blessed him? Anyway, what was so important about these blessings that had Rebecca and Jacob plotting to get them before Esau did? And if Jacob was the correct recipient, why didn’t Rebecca just have a showdown with Isaac and make sure that he gave them to Jacob, not Esau? Why the dramatic charade? And finally, if the blessings were given (and received) through trickery, how come they worked? With the help of some amazing commentaries Rabbi Dunner revealed how the backdrop to this story is so incredibly important, and how the subterfuge was so crucial for the outcome of this monumental moment in the history of the Jewish nation.