• Home
  • Parashah Insights
  • Ask the Rabbi
  • Festivals & Fasts
  • Articles
  • Books
  • About
  •  

    Leaving & living – Vayyetzei

    The title of the sidra means “And he left”. It begins with Jacob leaving Beer Sheva for Haran.

    Leaving, emigrating, moving to a new country is a constant theme in Jewish history. It was sometimes motivated by hope, ambition and aspiration. Sometimes the move was forced on us by circumstances.

    From Raul Hilberg’s book, The Destruction of the European Jews, we see that there were three such factors:

    One group of oppressors said in effect, “You shall not live amongst us as Jews”. In other words, you can remain only if you abandon Judaism and convert to Christianity.

    Another group said, “You shall not live amongst us”, i.e. even if you convert you have to throw off your Jewish ethnicity and be like everyone else.

    By the time of the Holocaust the policy was, “You shall not live”: nothing will save you, neither conversion nor assimilation. You have to be eliminated.

    All three policies hit us hard, but in the end none of them worked.

    Being Jewish in either an old or a new land was never easy, but if the gentile world were fair and truthful they would admit that when the Jews lived among them they all benefited.

    As the Torah says in this week’s reading, “All the peoples of the earth shall be blessed by you and your offspring”.

    Comments are closed.