Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Bereshit 28:10 - 32:3
This weeks Sidra is titled Vayetzei and means "And he went out." The first parasha begins "Jacob departed from Beer-sheba and went toward Haran." This weeks reading is packed full of wonderful insights and prophetic imagery. From Jacobs encountering a certain place, the rock which where he laid his head, from the descending and ascending angels, to his vow to HaShem, the list goes on and on. I would like to focus on not any one detail but look at the reading as one large picture and message. The overall events as stated here in Jacob’s life is as if the story had already been told in black and white, now current we add more details and revelation to upcoming events which add color and reveal greater details for future events in which we will be able to see in HD (high definition), to ultimately in our future will be shown it to us live and in person.
As we venture through Jacob’s life in this reading we will look back and look forward to the connections of the life of Abraham and the children of Israel. To begin Jacob leaves Canaan by the direction of his mother Rebekah for fear that Esau is going to kill Jacob. Thus Jacob is exiled from the land (Future Israel). In Parasha Lech Lecha Abraham is forced to leave the land due to a severe famine, once again an exile from the land (Future Israel). Although Jacob’s result of leaving is not due to any famine, the relation of famine and the threat of loss of life here are very similar. While Abraham is in Egypt, Pharaoh takes for himself Sara to be his wife. In this way putting not directly Abraham into bondage but the Matriarch of the children of Israel. This is very much similar to Jacob being held in bondage by Laban to work for Leah and Rachel. Although they are the daughters of Laban they are held back from their husband. While Abraham was in Egypt he prospered greatly, just like Jacob prospered in Charan, even though he was somewhat oppressed by his father in law as Jacob states, "You’ve changed my wages 10 times." Finally as Abraham leaves Egypt with his wife and great wealth that he amassed for himself, much in the same way Jacob leaves to return to Canaan with his wives and children and wealth. Many more details are added to the Exile and Redemption story of Jacobs life compared to that of Abraham that we will see as we compare the story of the Exodus in comparison to Jacob’s journey.
As we explore the Exodus story we will see the added progressive revelation. Jacob worked for Laban for twenty years and felt that he had been some what oppressed as stated in Gen 31:38-42, "I have been with you for twenty years now. Your sheep and goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten rams from your flocks. I did not bring you animals torn by wild beast; I bore the loss myself. And you demanded payment from me for whatever was stolen by day or night. - Continued to V42. - If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands," The children of Israel worked for Pharaoh, Ex. 1:13, "And worked them ruthlessly." HaShem saw Jacob’s bondage, Gen. 31:12, "for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you." HaShem also saw the bondage of Israel in Egypt, Ex. 3:7, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt." Jacobs family increased greatly in Charan just as the Israelites increased in Egypt, Ex 1:7, "but the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them." Jacob fled from Laban, Gen. 31:21, "So he fled with all he had," just as Israel fled from Pharaoh, Ex. 14:5, "When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled-." Laban was told the Jacob had fled, Gen. 31:21, just as Pharaoh was told in Ex. 14:5. We see in Gen 31:23 that Laban pursued Jacob, "Taking his relatives with him, he pursued Jacob for seven days and caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead." And as we well know Pharaoh pursued the children of Israel as stated in Ex. 14:8, "The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly." Of course with Laban catching Jacob and Pharaoh catching the children of Israel we know different results occur.
In each of these three exile and redemption stories, it progressively adds to the details of events from the past. The redemption of Jacob back to Cannon will result in a restored relationship of two brothers through forgiveness. The redemption of the children of Israel will result in a temporarily restored relationship between themselves and HaShem through the giving of the Torah. As we know that the events of the Fathers continue to repeat themselves, even to this very day, what more details will be revealed to us in the future when the final redemption from our exile will take place. Events that have not yet been written, but we are living and taking part in right now.