Parashat Vayishlah 5784

November 29, 2023

Rabbi Rob Scheinberg

More than 30 years ago, the award-winning Israeli novelist David Grossman wrote a children’s book, איתמר פוגש ארנב Itamar pogesh arnav, “Itamar meets a rabbit.” It’s a story about a boy named Itamar who loves animals of all kinds, except that he is terrified of rabbits.

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Parashat Vayishlah 5783

December 5, 2022

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah My Parasha A D’var Torah for Parashat Vayishlah By Rabbi Andrew Hechtman (’03) On most any Shabbat the world over, b’nei mitzvah children rise before their community and state an affirmative obligation to maintain Jewish identity and live a Jewish future. Most often, they deliver a D’var Torah (teaching) beginning with the words… “My Parasha is ____”. We encourage our children to take ownership of their Torah. As Jews, only knowing the “facts” about Judaism is “livatala”, meaningless, unless accompanied by an evolving Jewish identity. The concept of differentiation of self is at the core of Bowen Family Systems Theory. Differentiation addresses how individuals differ from each other in terms of their sensitivity to one another and their varying abilities to maintain and preserve a degree of autonomy in the face of other social pressures. The struggle for balance and harmony in our lives is at the very core of...

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Parashat Vayishlah 5782

November 19, 2021

Bless People by Their Names A D’var Torah for Parashat Vayishlah By Rabbi Lizz Goldstein (’16) Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah This week is Transgender Awareness Week, an opportunity for trans folks to celebrate themselves and for allies to educate themselves and uplift the voices of the too often silenced queer community. The week culminates in the observance of Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th. Transgender people, especially trans women of color, are disproportionately affected by hate violence, ranging from harassment to murder; according to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 45 trans people have been killed through violent means in 2021. Additionally, trans people are more likely than cisgender people to express suicidal ideation or to actually commit suicide. All this leads to the necessity of a Transgender Day of Remembrance to hold vigils for those lost due to the violent transphobia in our country and...

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Parashat Vayishlah 5781

December 4, 2020

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah What Goes Around A D’var Torah for Parashat Vayishlah By Rabbi Michael Rothbaum (’06) The aphorism “what goes around comes around” is so ingrained in the English language as to seem timeless. I’d always assumed it was from a Shakespearean sonnet, or maybe one of Aesop’s fables. But a little Googling reveals it to be of a much more recent vintage. The earliest citation I found was from an African American newspaper, The Pittsburgh Courier, in 1952. Today it refers to getting one’s comeuppance — and not in a good way. But in what appears to be the first time the phrase appeared in print, columnist Nat D. Williams uses it to express a positive sentiment. Williams writes with pride of African American athletes finally getting their chance to prove their ability in the Olympics and in Major League Baseball, offering Black spectators “a surge of...

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Parashat Vayishlah 5780

December 12, 2019

A D’var Torah for Parashat Vayishlah By Rabbi Bruce Alpert (’11) Two recent experiences color my reading of this week’s parashah, Vayishlah. The first involved my family watching When Harry Met Sally for the umpteenth time. After the movie, we turned to the DVD’s special features which included an interview with the screenwriter, the wonderful Nora Ephron. In it she said that there were two kinds of romantic comedies. In the Christian kind, the protagonists are kept apart by a real, physical barrier. In the Jewish kind, they are separated by the man’s neuroses. I thought about that as I read of Jacob’s preparations to meet his brother Esau at the beginning of this week’s parashah. First he sends an obsequious message to Esau hoping for a favorable reply (Gen. 32:4-6). When that fails, he divides his camp in two, seeking to secure the safety of at least part of his clan (Gen. 32:8-9). Then he sends gifts...

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