Threatened From All Sides

Parashat ha-Shavua      פָּרָשַׁת הַשָּׁבוּעַ

Threatened From All Sides
That Jacob had fled… (Genesis 31:22)
כי ברח יעקב (בראשית לא:כב)

Our forefather Jacob, could certainly relate, as portion Va’yetze is both begins and ends with Jacob in flight from imminent danger. The portion begins with Jacob fleeing from his brother Esau, who had vowed to murder his brother for the crime of “stealing” his blessing from their father. We read that Esau “Said in his heart, ‘Let the days of mourning for my father be at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.’” (Genesis 27:41) Yet, if Esau only expressed his hatred for Jacob in his heart, how then were “the words of Esau…told to Rebekah”? (27:42) How did she know what he was thinking? The Sages in the Midrash (Avot D’rabbi Natan 45) explain that, “[Esau] revealed his intention to every inhabitant of the world…” Esau felt no compunction about sharing his intention of murdering his brother, which is precisely how Rebecca learned of his hatred and compelled Jacob to flee for his life. Our Parashah also concludes with Jacob fleeing from Laban, his father-in-law, for the “crime” of running away without giving proper advance notice of his intentions. The Midrash (Pirkei D’rabbi Eliezer 36) highlights the notion of Jacob in a constant state of flight, for Rabbi Eliezer states that Jacob fled on his way to Laban, “Jacob fled into the field of Aram” (Hosea 12:13)and he also fled from Laban, “And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled.” Throughout the portion, Jacob could never escape the fact that danger lurked in very close proximity.

While today we read about Jacob in exile, constantly running from threats, the strong support of the American people gives Israel both the strength and the peace of mind to know that it has the resources it needs to contend with the threats it faces in an increasingly uncertain region. Shabbat Shalom