Vayetze 2015 Nov 21 / 9 Kislev, 5776

As the one-week anniversary of the terrorist attacks in Paris approaches, we are full of concern, questions, and perhaps anger. Why is there cruelty in the world? Why must one group seek domination over another? Why do people hate? Will wanton destruction and lack of regard for life never end? Some fear is natural, but allowing fear to overcome us and distort our basic values is not healthy or helpful. In this week’s parasha, Jacob left home in great fear and trepidation, forced to cross a border into a land he did not know. He did not know what dangers lurked along his way, but he did know that his brother Esau wanted him dead. On the very first night of his journey, God came to Jacob in a dream atop a ladder, assuring Jacob that he was safe and his life’s mission would be fulfilled. Jacob was comforted by this dream. He awoke and said: “God was in this place, and I did not know it.” (Gen 28:16) We need to look for sources of comfort and hope when facing fears. Being in the synagogue and joining with others in prayers for peace and proclaiming the values of justice and compassion that our siddur and Torah texts teach in one way to do so. Join this Shabbat.

Genesis 28:10−32:3