Tag Archives: Peace

Opting out is not an option!

This week’s parashah, Va-Yeishev, opens, “And Jacob settled in the land of his father’s soujourns, in the land of Canaan.” (Genesis 37:1)

Jacob aimed to return to the land of his father in peace. Following his dramatic dream of angels going up and down from earth he prayed: “…if I come back in peace to my father’s house…” (Genesis 28:21)

Rashi, one of the classic Medieval commentators imagined God’s response to Jacob’s settling: “Is it not enough for the righteous, what is prepared for them in the world to come, that they seek to settle in peace in this world?”

Doing the work, wrestling towards greater meaning and more righteous communities and society – these efforts can exhaust us even as we know we must continue them.

Even Jacob, named Israel the God wrestler, hoped that his struggle would end, that he could settle down and finally rest. Jacob’s life reminds us that the work to build and maintain family continues even as our families mature. As Jacob longed to settle, his adult sons misbehaved without his leadership, and his family spun out of control.

Let us rally each other to continue to make the efforts, to continue to strive. We continually discover the wisdom to help us do the work as long as we continue to wrestle.

When everyone is human, everything is personal

Torah-Inspired, Reflection of The Day:

Today we look at B’midbar, Numbers 1:1 – 4:20 – the opening of the Book of Numbers, the book we call B’midbar, “In the wilderness”, in Hebrew. The census of the Israelites for the sake of taking account of their military capacity takes place in these opening chapters.

One of the key verses to this reading comes at the very beginning:
Num. 1:3 …you are to count them (for battle) according to their forces, you and Aaron.

Moses and Aaron must encounter each of the men they count.

We can only enter into the terrible prospect of war when we encounter the people that may die as unique individuals. For that matter, we should only enter war when we attempt to encounter the people we oppose as unique individuals as well.