“God said to him, “You whose name is Jacob, you shall be called Jacob no more, but Israel shall be your name.” (Genesis 35:10)
It is gloomy, cold, and kind of sad here in New York. Perfect days for a parshah that is not too easy to read. Are there any of them that one is able to take for a light reading, though? Probably not.
Yaakov, the man that is able to appreciate everything that Gd had given him, meets his brother Esau, and they have a very interesting exchange outlining their respective takes on life. When offered gifts from his brother, Esau says:
ט וַיֹּאמֶר עֵשָׂו, יֶשׁ-לִי רָב; אָחִי, יְהִי לְךָ אֲשֶׁר-לָךְ.
|9 And Esau said: ‘I have enough; my brother, let that which thou hast be thine.’|
יֶשׁ-לִי רָב – I have enough, a lot
יא קַח-נָא אֶת-בִּרְכָתִי אֲשֶׁר הֻבָאת לָךְ, כִּי-חַנַּנִי אֱלֹהִים וְכִי יֶשׁ-לִי-כֹל; וַיִּפְצַר-בּוֹ, וַיִּקָּח.
|11 Take, I pray thee, my gift that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.’ And he urged him, and he took it.|
יֶשׁ-לִי-כֹל – I have everything.
These two men have different approaches to life and the presence of Gd in it and beyond. Esau thought of himself as a stronger power, therefore he might have genuinely wanted to offer Yaakov his military-like escort. However, Yaakov realised that Gd Almighty is the only protector, and he merited this Diving protection, therefore he had “all” – everything that he could, possibly, need.
Yet, even the greatest people are not immune from mistakes and pain.
I am not going to talk about this, very painful, part of the Torah narrative. This is how I felt a while ago about it, I feel the same still.
Little verses in that post bring me to Rachel, fo course! The woman Yaakov truly loved, and the woman we all remember.
יט וַתָּמָת, רָחֵל; וַתִּקָּבֵר בְּדֶרֶךְ אֶפְרָתָה, הִוא בֵּית לָחֶם.
|19 And Rachel died and was buried in the way to Ephrath–the same is Beth-lehem.|
I visited the tomb of Rachel when the parochet hanging at her tomb was made from a wedding dress of a girl who was murdered by terrorists a day before her wedding. She was supposed to get married at Ramat Rachel, a beautiful kibbutz now far from Rachel imeinu burial place. Since that time long, ago she “cries for her children” and can’t be consoled. Unfortunately, even today, when many of her children come back, she still has reasons to cry for them.
May none of the mothers in this world see her child die. There is nothing more painful. Nothing! When we kiss our children goodnight, whether at 1, 5 or 35, may we all be aware the preciousness of life. May we remember it. Always.