Parsha Talk Vayetzei 5784 2023

Parsha Talk with Rabbis Eliot Malomet, Barry Chesler and Jeremy Kalmanofsky. Parashat Va-yetze [Genesis 28:10–32:3] is a personal favorite, in that it is my Bar Mitzvah portion. Coincidentally [or not] it is the Bat Mitzvah portion of my wife, Carol. And, my Hebrew name is יעקב [ya’aqov, Jacob], who is the main character. The parashah begins with Jacob heading northeast, to the land of his uncle Lavan, as he flees from his brother Esau. The parashah ends with Jacob on his way back to Canaan, with two wives and two handmaidens s, in tow, with 12 children [11 boys and a girl], and much flocks, preparing to meet his brother after 20 years.. The parashah begins with a divine encounter, the angels going up and down the ladder, and ends with one, after Jacob concludes his treaty with Lavan. This parashah seems particularly rich, though we say that almost every week. We confine our conversation to the scene at the well, and how that shapes our understanding of the characters involved and the events that subsequently unfold.
Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the hostages, the soldiers who defend Israel, and the people Israel [both of the מדינה (m’dinah, state) and of the עם [am, nation or people we call Jews). May all who are separated from their families and homes be returned to them speedily and in peace. Shabbat Shalom.