Shabbat VaYeshev: Not Home Yet

וַיֵּ֣שֶׁב יַעֲקֹ֔ב בְּאֶ֖רֶץ מְגוּרֵ֣י אָבִ֑יו בְּאֶ֖רֶץ כְּנָֽעַן “Jacob settled in the land where his parents had lived” – Gen 37.1 The narrative of Jewish history, that is to say the story we tell ourselves about who we are and where we come from, is rooted in the myth of a garden. Eden, as the mythicalContinue reading “Shabbat VaYeshev: Not Home Yet”

Shabbat Toldot: Trust, Despite Everything

In parashat Toldot we read of the birth of the twins Esau and Jacob, born to Rebekah and Isaac after years of trying to get pregnant, and much frustration and difficulty. The family that is created when the children are safely born seems to thrive: their parents succeed in helping their boys to find forContinue reading “Shabbat Toldot: Trust, Despite Everything”

Shabbat Matot-Masei: the Long, Confusing, Chaotic Road to Freedom

In this week’s double parashah we wind up the Book of BaMidbar. The word bamidbar, actually three in English, is usually translated “in the wilderness”. But the root word, dalet bet reysh, can as easily be understood as “speaking”. Our ancestors wandered across a land that was unsettled, and that they saw as chaotic and uncontrollable. We,Continue reading “Shabbat Matot-Masei: the Long, Confusing, Chaotic Road to Freedom”