Shabbat Vayishlach (Gen 32:4 – 36:43)

Jacob prepares to meet his brother Esau after a 20 year separation. Remember that they didn’t leave on the best of terms (Jacob having stolen the blessing from Isaac), so Jacob is understandably anxious. He divides his family into 4 groups. On the surface, he’s splitting the family from least favored to most – the concubines Bilhah and Zilpah along with their children, then Leah and her kids, then Rachel... read more

Shabbat Vayaytzay (Gen. 28:10-32:3)

We pick up this week with Jacob traveling – running for his life, actually – to the home of Laban. On his way, he has a vision of a ladder that extends to heaven, angels traveling both up and down. He arrives at his mother’s home and meets Rachel at the well. He works 7 years to marry her, only to find on the morning after the wedding that Leah took her place. So he works another 7 years for Rachel and... read more

Shabbat Toledot (Gen. 25:19-28:9)

This week we delve into the character, psyche and dynamics of Isaac’s family. Jacob was fairer than Esau, with a lighter complexion and smaller build. Esau was apparently a lightweight when it came to study. Rebecca was smart (bright) when it came to obtaining the blessing for Jacob. Isaac appeared to be unenlightened when it came what was happening in his own household. SO… limited only by your... read more

Shabbat Chayay Sarah (Gen. 23:1-25:18)

It’s a week of ups and downs this week. Overall, Team Abraham is pretty prosperous. Abraham sends Eliezar to find a wife to Isaac and he meets Rebecca right out of the starting gate. Rebecca herself falls in love and Isaac is comforted following the loss of Sarah. On the minus side, just about everyone dies by the end of this portion. Somewhere in the middle, though, the Torah makes a point of telling us... read more

Shabbat Vayera (Gen. 18:1 – 22:24)

The name of the portion this week is Vaera – “And God Saw”, but it seems (to me) to be all about blindness. At the beginning of the portion this week, Abraham is sitting, perhaps blinded by pain of his circumcision, at the entrance to his tent when he lifts his eyes to see 3 strangers approaching. He welcomes them, perhaps realizing they are really divine visitors, but also some Rabbis say he was blind to... read more

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