Discovering the ancient roots of antisemitism
Can the oldest hatred be traced back to this week's portion? How is it that a cryptic verse in the Passover Haggadah seems to contradict the Torah story and how is it related to this week's Torah portion?
When Jacob was fleeing from Esau he laid down to sleep and dreamt of angels ascending and descending a ladder. Later on in the dream God appears to Jacon and promises him the covenantal promise of the Land and descendants. When Jacob awakes, he says that surely this is the House of the Lord and he names the place, Beth El.
Beth El lies about 17Km north of Jerusalem and today you can find the thriving Jewish settlement of Beth El nearby. It is on a nearby hill that it is believed that Jacob had his dream and was also one of the places setup for central worship in the Kingdom of Israel.
The Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) teaches us that the ladder was planted in the ground at Beth El and reached the heavens over Mount Moriah, which is the place where God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac and also where the Temple would be built in the future.
This weeks portion focuses on Jacob and specifically his time away in Haran working for Laban. At the end of last weeks portion we saw Jacob running away from Esau, fearing for his life. The following is a quick summary of the events that take part in this weeks portion of Vayetzei.
Ends or Means, Journey or Destination?
Does the end really justify the means or what is more important; the journey or the destination? There are two paths before us, do we do as Laban did and step on others in order to achieve our goals or do we do as Jacob did and no matter the hardships, refuse to push other’s down in order reach a destination? What is the destination and how do successfully reach it?
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