03 Dec Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat Vayeishev
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Vayeishev in which we find a finally settled down Jacob after his twenty-year stay with his uncle, Lavan. Even though he was not too advanced in age, the feeling we get from reading about Jacob is that he was old, or at least felt old. He is father to thirteen children, husband to three wives (had been four but Rachel passed away in last week’s Torah portion), had been tricked by Lavan into working extra years, had been away from home for so long, had fought with an angel, survived reunification with his brother, dealt with the aftermath of Shimon and Levi killing all the males in Sh’chem after they’d become circumcised – Jacob had been through more than most people dealt with in their lifetimes. And yet his life was far from over and the worst was yet to come. I don’t know how Jacob found the strength to deal with all that life threw at him, but every year when we read through these stories I’m reminded of how lucky we all are for the blessings we have and are able to celebrate and that we should celebrate more. I hope that Jacob took the chance to celebrate the good moments in his own life, few as they may have seemed to be.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik