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    Time to go – Vayyetzei

    suitcaseAfter arousing the enmity of his brother Esau (the story recounted in the portion we read last week), Jacob could no longer stay at home. He had to leave, as fast and as far as possible.

    He was bound to be lonely and unsure of himself, but there was no alternative.

    After a difficult journey through the wilderness, his path took him to the home of his uncle Laban, where he acquired two wives, a family and assets, though Laban cheated him at every turn and finally Jacob had to move on from there too.

    In every generation Jews have likewise had to decide whether it was time to leave wherever they were and to go away in order to survive.

    Staying put was often more tempting and more comfortable, and was defended on the basis that the wind was sure to blow over and things would be all right again.

    There were usually a series of warnings that really should not be ignored, though people often vacillated and sometimes only decided to flee when it was already too late.

    None of this makes it easy to be a Jew, but there is good sense in what was frequently said by someone I know, “When the time comes to go I will know; and I won’t pretend that I can’t see the signs or hear the warnings”.

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