15 Dec Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat Vayishlach 5777
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Vayishlach in which Yaakov is finally reunited with most of the members of his immediate family. The reason I say “most” of his family is because his mother Rivka passed away during Yaakov’s twenty years in Charan. It is not clear from the text if Yaakov knows before his return that his mother has died or only finds out from his brother, but either way it must have been terribly difficult coming back to his family with all that uncertainty. Today, even when we are away when someone passes, we live in an age where information travels much faster than people do and it is quite simple to keep everyone in the loop. Social media affords us the opportunity to announce news, both good and bad, to all our “friends” instantly. But even when we know that something sad has taken place, our first foray back into the family dynamic after such an occurrence is always difficult. It is yet another reason why we can identify with Yaakov, see the grace with which he seems to handle this situation and hope to be able to do the same thing ourselves.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik