Torah: Vayishlach (Genesis 32:4-35:29) Haftarah: (Obadiah 1:1-21)
Hanukkah begins at sundown on Sunday, December 18/25 Kislev
The Torah portion: Jacob wrestles with a man-angel who changes his name to Israel. Jacob and Esau meet and part peacefully, Dinah, the daughter of Leah and Jacob, is violated by Shechem, Jacob takes revenge by murdering all the males of Shechem and plundering the city, Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin and is buried near Bethlehem, Isaac dies and is buried in Hebron near his parents Abraham and Sarah, and there is a listing of the genealogy of Jacob and Esau.
There are many concepts and values throughout this Torah portion and with Hanukkah coming with many of us will be with family and friends, I will drash/discuss, “Reconciliation.” Judaism has always emphasized the importance of making peace with one’s fellow human being after an argument or fight. In our Torah portion Jacob reunites with his brother Esau, whose birthright he has stolen. Jacob’s strategy in this reconciliation (sending a delegation to represent him, humility, prayer, and gifts to reduce his brother’s hostility) has been praised by many biblical scholars and interpreters.
Some of us have wonderful relationships with our families, while others have many challenging experiences today to say the least. However, it is up to each of us to try reaching out even though the process and/or the results may not be what one prays for. If not during this Hanukkah celebration, maybe sometime in the future you may reach out again for reconciliations. Know that your caring and kind righteous actions were the right approach.
Another notable Mitzvah: Keeping Kosher: The struggle of Jacob and the adversary leaves its mark on Jacob, who limps away with a wounded thigh. The portion goes on to say that the children of Israel must not eat the sinew of the thigh-vein, one of the Jewish dietary laws. This precept is a constant reminder of the Divine Providence to the Israelites, as exemplified in the experience of Jacob the patriarch. Also, the Hebrew word, kosher translates to correct. Living here in Southern Utah eating Kosher is challenging, and one may keep kosher in many ways even in the desert.
The upcoming event on Saturday, December 17th will be for our Military and Veterans. I was honored to offer “A Patriotic Pray” at the ceremony. It will be held at Ivins Cemetery, located at 200 West and 400 North at 10am. As the daughter of one of General Patton’s Medical team, I know that Freedom is Not Free. Many fought and died for our freedoms, many were wounded, and all should be remembered and honored and Thanked for their service along with their families. As I am writing this drash on Wednesday, December 7th, which marks the Remembrance of the Pearl Harbor Attack and the USA entering into WWII. We Remember them.
HaMakom Yenacheim – it is with great sadness that I note the passing of our member, Michael Davis.
HaMakom Yenacheim – it is with great sadness that I note the passing of our member, Cathay Talman.
May G-d comfort their families, with all others who mourn in Zion and Jerusalem.
May we have opportunities to share simcha(joy) in the future.
Baruch Dyan Emet/ Blessed is the True Judge.
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder