This week’s Parsha, VaYetze, is filled with controversy, complex relationships and yearnings for wholeness and reconciliation. We find Jacob, all alone, seeking refuge from his brother, Esau. He finds refuge up north in Haran, with his uncle, Laban. He falls in love with his cousin, Rachel, but, is deceived by his uncle into marrying Leah first. Laban, a manipulative and unkind person, forces Jacob to work for him an additional seven years. Finally, with the support of his wives, Jacob decides to deceive Laban, acquiring large flocks through advanced animal husbandry practices, distances himself from Laban and then, unannounced, starts to head back to Canaan with his wives, children and flocks. Rachel, in an act of revenge, takes her father’s idolatrous statuettes.
There’s not a lot of loving kindness and warmth in this narrative. But it does seem as that there is a positive breakthrough when Laban realizes what happens, decide to pursue Jacob to reclaim what he feels belongs to him. Wisely, God, for the first time, appears to Laban, and instructs him to listen to Yaakov and hear him out. Long story short, Laban listens and offers a pact between them. Jacob provides the food, they dine together on the mountain and, in the morning, Laban says goodbye, blessing his daughters and grandchildren and returns home.
We live in times where we daily experience manipulative and deceptive acts by leaders, corporate powers, the media and sometimes among our circles of friends and associates. In these historic times, we, as individuals and as a nation, are called to confront our demons, our false gods and find a path in our lives that is accountable to a higher reality, to truthfulness, caring for others and acts of reconciliation. Soon, the higher voice will come to those who manipulate and deceive us.
Let us be hopeful. May our hearts be strengthened. “Kavey el-Adonai, Khazak v'ya'ameitz libeha...” (from Ps. 27)
eBivracha, Reb David