Parashat Vayeitzei 5784

November 20, 2023

Rabbi Susan Elkodsi

Parashat Vayeitzei was my bat mitzvah portion, and while I remember chanting the Haftarah on Friday night and reading a speech I wrote (with lots of my father’s help!) about it, it wasn’t until AJR’s retreat where we explored this parashah through song, dance, art, intensive study and more that I realized how special it was, and how it spoke to me personally.

Read more >

Parashat Vayeitzei 5783

November 28, 2022

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah A D’var Torah for Parashat Vayeitzei By Rabbi Steven Altarescu (’14) We are often running from place to place, from errand to errand, doing our best, tripping up, falling down and getting up and running some more. We face challenges and sometimes we face them with wisdom and sometimes we fail at them. Life can feel like moving on a line, horizontally. In the last number of years, through the last few election cycles and through the pandemic, we can feel we are running for our lives. Motivated by saving democracy and freedom, and to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy, while still trying to function in the world. We do not know what is next, both from a political perspective and from a medical perspective, and yet we keep moving. I believe it is very easy to get entangled in our daily lives and lose hope...

Read more >

Parashat Vayeitzei 5782

November 12, 2021

A D’var Torah for Parashat Vayeitzei By Rabbi Katy Allen (’05) Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah Once long ago and far away there lived a wise Queen who ruled a small but thriving territory. The Queen had three daughters. As each daughter came of age, the Queen gave her 10 pieces of gold and admonished her to use them both wisely and compassionately. The oldest daughter gave one piece of gold to help feed and clothe the poor and hungry, and the Queen was pleased by this. The second daughter gave two pieces of gold to help feed and clothe the poor and hungry, and the Queen was much pleased by this. The third daughter gave three – and some say she gave all 10 – pieces of gold to help feed and clothe the poor and hungry, and the Queen was not pleased. The origins of...

Read more >

Parashat Vayeitzei 5781

November 27, 2020

  Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah   Noticing the Good (and the Bad) A D’var Torah for Parashat Vayeitzei By Rabbi Lizz Goldstein (’16) I always feel a bit conflicted at this time of year, and in some ways this year’s necessary changes have alleviated some of my discomfort around celebrating Thanksgiving. I love this day for food and family, for gratitude and the opportunity to share all that we have, but sometimes it’s impossible to ignore that this holiday is based on a white-washed version of history that in reality led to genocide. It’s one thing to take the time out of our busy lives to just enjoy a pause for hakarat hatov – noticing the good. But is it necessary in a time of physical shut down and overwhelming flow of information of the good and bad in this country? I recall some...

Read more >

Parashat Vayetze 5780

December 5, 2019

A D’var Torah for Parashat Vayetze By Cantor Sandy Horowitz (’14) Our liturgy contains frequent reminders that our God is also the God of the three patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But from what we know about Jacob when we encounter him at the beginning of Parashat Vayetze, he seems like a poor choice for a patriarch. He had behaved terribly towards his brother and father, having manipulated Esau into giving him the older brother’s birthright and then deceiving his father Isaac into giving him the blessing meant for Esau. Jacob is forced to leave home in order to escape Esau’s death threats. Granted, Jacob’s role had been preordained when they were in the womb, as it was declared that the elder of the twins, Esau, would serve the younger, Jacob (Genesis 25:23). Nonetheless, Jacob’s behavior thus far does not seem consistent with the actions of one worthy of God’s blessing. Parashat...

Read more >