December 6, 2019
8 Kislev 5780
Candle Lighting: 4:26 p.m.
In our Torah portion this week, Vayetzei, we read about the relationship between our Patriarch Jacob, and his Uncle Lavan. After Jacob tricked his father into receiving the birthright, Jacob flees to to live with his uncle, who would become his employer and his father in law. Instead of being embraced by his uncle, Jacob was tormented by him. His uncle tricks Jacob into marrying a wife that he never wanted, forces Jacob into servitude, and viciously pursues Jacob after he he tries to run away. The Maharani Beyrav, a traditional commentator, points out that most of Joseph and the Jewish people’s suffering, including the 400 years of slavery in Egypt, is Lavan’s fault. Had Lavan not tricked Jacob into marrying the wrong daughter, Joseph would have been the first born child. If that were the case Joseph would never have been thrown in the pit, and his family would never have followed him to Egypt. Baeyrav points out that Lavan had no reason to hate Jacob, yet caused him pain and suffering on each and every step of his journey, and continues to do so, until this day. The Rashbatz adds, this is meant to teach us a very important lesson; that when there is unpacifiable hatred forming relentless enemies, peace seems almost impossible.
In light of the most recent barrage of rocket fire into Israel, the Rashbatz seems to have captured what seems to be a never ending cycle of violence.
This week, we are blessed to welcome Cantor Leberman back to Tifereth Israel. In between his visits, amidst this most recent conflict, Cantor Leberman had the honor of serving in the IDF, fulfilling his Milium annual reserve duty, protecting the Jewish people and the Jewish homeland. While there will be many opportunities to be inspired by Cantor Leberman over the next three weeks, please join us this Shabbat as he addresses his service, and what is was like to be in Israel during the most recent cycle of events.
While as the Rashbatz suggests, real peace may seem almost impossible in the wake of such hatred, we are blessed to have soldiers like Cantor Leberman protecting us, and our values.