Breaking Routine to Encounter God

Breaking Routine to Encounter God

Nov 21, 2012 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Vayetzei

With the threat of fratricide hanging over his head and in light of his parents’ wish, Jacob makes a quick exit from Beersheba and heads toward Haran, where he will presumably find a loving and loyal wife.

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God in Our Midst

God in Our Midst

Dec 6, 2006 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Vayetzei

After Jacob steals Esav’s blessing, a deep rift develops between these two brothers.

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Rachel Leans In

Rachel Leans In

Nov 5, 2013 By Michal Raucher | Commentary | Vayetzei

Recent conversations in popular feminism revolve around trying to capture what it means to “have it all,” and, if that’s even possible, how to achieve it.

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How Full of Awe Is This Place!

How Full of Awe Is This Place!

Nov 28, 2014 By Marcus Mordecai Schwartz | Commentary | Vayetzei

In 1969, as a senior pursuing a BFA at the University of Memphis, my mother, Ann Kibel Schwartz, made a series of prints, including this one on themes from Genesis, as her senior thesis. She drew the images for these prints from magazines, newspapers, and print advertisements. The images were starkly modern, but their juxtaposition in collage, drawing on the ancient themes of the Torah, created an old-new whole.

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Family

Family

Nov 18, 2015 By Burton L. Visotzky | Commentary | Vayetzei

This week’s Torah reading, Vayetzei (Genesis 28:10-32:2), opens and closes with flights of angels accompanying our forefather Jacob (aka Israel, though, he won’t get named that until next week), as he flees from and returns to the Promised Land. When Jacob leaves, he is running in fear for his life. For our father Jacob has cheated his macho older brother Esau once too often, so much so that he has threatened to kill him. Of course, Esau isn’t that much older, for the two brothers are twins. But as any set of twins will tell you, the one who came first, even if by mere seconds—that one is the elder. We might assume, along with the Bible, that birth-order matters. But Genesis is all about the younger supplanting the older and we are on solid ground suggesting that this sibling rivalry stuff is at the very heart of this week’s Torah lesson.

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“And Shall We Do It?”

“And Shall We Do It?”

Nov 15, 2015 By Louis Polisson | Commentary | Vayetzei

It is not in Heaven
And I did not know
I said: “Who shall go up for us to heaven?
I don’t want to, I don’t care
I don’t understand…”

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Reclaiming Our Dreams

Reclaiming Our Dreams

Nov 28, 2014 By Marc Gary | Commentary | Vayetzei

This week’s parashah, Vayetzei, covers a critical 20-year period in the life of our patriarch Jacob: the two decades that Jacob spends outside the Land of Israel, in Haran, in the house of his conniving uncle, Laban. They are years of treachery, deceit, exploitation, and fear. They are pivotal years in Jacob’s life—years in which Jacob confronts who he is and sees in Laban what he will become if he doesn’t pull back from the abyss. In the words of Aviva Gottlieb Zornberg, this is “the night of [Jacob’s] soul.” And, as if to drive this point home, the parashah begins with the setting of the sun and the onset of night, and ends with sunrise and the beginning of a new day.

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How Angels Make Us Better People

How Angels Make Us Better People

Nov 20, 2012 By Arnold M. Eisen | Commentary | Vayetzei

I’ve never thought much about mal’akhim (literally, angels), and I wonder if Jacob had thought about them either, before the encounter that took place when he departed the Land of Israel in flight from his brother’s wrath.

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