From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/vayeitzei
Vayeitzei [וַיֵּצֵא – And (Jacob) Left] – Genesis 28:10−32:3
And Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. – Genesis 28:10
- Jacob dreams of angels going up and down a ladder. God blesses him. Jacob names the place Bethel. (28:10-22)
- Jacob works seven years in order to marry Rachel, but Laban tricks Jacob into marrying Leah, Rachel’s older sister. (29:16-25)
- Jacob marries Rachel but only after having to commit himself to seven more years of working for Laban. (29:26-30)
- Leah, Rachel, and their maidservants, Bilhah and Zilpah, give birth to eleven sons and one daughter. (29:31-30:24)
- Jacob and his family leave Laban’s household with great wealth. (31:1-32:3)
Hosea 11:7-12:12 (Sephardim) or Hosea 12:13-14:10 (Ashkenazim)
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vayetze
The early 20th century German scholar Hermann Gunkel wrote that the legend cycle of Jacob-Esau-Laban divided clearly into the legends (1) of Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:19–34; 27:1–45; 27:46–28:9; 32:3–21; 33:1–17), (2) of Jacob and Laban (Genesis 29:1–30; 30:25–31:55), (3) of the origin of the twelve tribes (Genesis 29:31–30:24), and (4) of the origin of ritual observances (Genesis 28:10–22; 32:1–2, 22–32).
Professor Cynthia Chapman of Oberlin College suggested that Judeans compiled and edited the ancestor narratives in Genesis after the Babylonian captivity to serve as stories of national origin. Chapman noted that several recurring themes of the Patriarchal narratives spoke to the exilic reality of those who preserved the stories. These stories emphasize God’s presence and power transcending national boundaries, the special covenant between God and Abraham’s descendants, the eternal nature of their covenant relationship, and the everlasting gift of the Promised Land. The stories also acknowledge tensions that threaten the protagonists. Jacob spent most of his adult life in Mesopotamia, and stories of hard-won children who were born into a land inheritance spoke powerfully to an exilic community that had lost many children to war and sickness during the long journey to exile. The Israelites viewed their world as a family tree; the story of Jacob’s family became the basis for how the Israelites understood themselves socially and politically as an alliance of 12 tribes; and where tribes stood in relation to each other. The process by which Jacob became Israel involved fleeing, exile, and hard labor. From the perspective of a people exiled from their land living in Mesopotamia, Jacob’s story was a powerful story of redemption. The Tribe of Judah also endured hard labor, took wives and had children, replenishing themselves into something resembling a nation. Many would build wealth in exile, and when they returned during the Persian period, they returned not as Judah, but as Israel, renamed before they crossed the Jordan River back into the Promised Land.
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
ויצא Vayeitzei – Genesis 28:10-32:3
The Journey Within by Rachel Havrelock, p.157
Parashat Vayeitzei (“he went out”) is the Torah’s greatest love story. In it the lovers–Rachel and Jacob–figure as doubles. Their lives are in many ways parallel. Each of them works as a shepherd, flees from home, steals a father’s legacy, contends with sibling and God alike, tricks others and is in turn tricked, and bargains for the blessing of having children. The stories of Rachel and Jacob illustrate the distinct but intersecting male and female journey cycles that characterize Genesis 12-35. In the male journey cycle a hero departs from home, gains intimacy with God by wandering promised and unpromised lands, has visions while exposed in the outdoors, and struggles to fulfill God’s blessing by engendering children.
For their part, the matriarchal heroines also wander across external terrain. However, their journey toward intimacy with God takes place in the internal terrain of the body. Three of the four matriarchs experience a state of barrenness; two of them (Sarah and Rachel) reverse it by articulating their discontent or taking direct action in order to signal their intentions to create life. The often extreme measures they take in order to give birth alert God to their drive. This leads to a divine encounter that results in conception.
Genesis acknowledges that conception ensues from sexual relations. But the subtext of the female journey cycle indicates that its success requires intimacy not only between a man and a woman but also between a woman and God. Following the birth of a child, the mother encodes the memory of her specific path from barrenness to fertility in the name that she bestows as a legacy to her child. This paradigm is apparent as Rachel and her sister, Leah, compete for the love of both Jacob and God while simultaneously birthing the people of Israel. Their achievement is celebrated in the book of Ruth when the people praise “Rachel and Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel” (Ruth 4:11).
From Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds especially directed at individuals and specific communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, 9 Kislev through 15 Kislev, we lovingly remember:
Yetta B. Steinberg
Memorial Board, Mother of TKH Member Iris Adler
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
Al sh’loshah d’varim ha’olam omëd – The world is sustained by three things: Torah, worship and loving deeds. We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this Friday evening, November 12, 2021.
Zoom continues being updated for security and performance features. In some cases, there are extra steps to go through in order to join a meeting. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this Friday evening:
Topic: Torah Study – Triennial reading Genesis 31:17-32:3
Time: Nov 12, 2021 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Nov 12, 2021 07:30 PM Arizona
To join the Torah Study and/or Shazoom Meeting click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]:
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat,
PS – Thanksgiving and Chanukah are less than two weeks away. This year, Chanukah begins the evening of November 28, 2021, the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving.