Vayeshev: Jacob’s Journey Continues

In this week’s Torah portion, we read that Jacob loved his son Joseph more than all his other sons. This display of favoritism caused great pain and confusion in the family. Joseph separated himself from his brothers, and the brothers’ jealousy and hurt allowed them to throw Joseph into a barren pit and then sell him into slavery. Jacob lost his beloved son and the family was torn apart.

After much contention and upheaval, Jacob seeks to settle down. He seeks the opportunity to rest, to dwell in comfort and peace, but immediately his actions put into motion more conflict and pain. And his life continues to unfold in turmoil.

Jacob’s struggle poses these questions:

            What causes us to confine and constrict our love?

            What keeps us from seeing another’s vulnerability, yearning, pain?

            When do hatred and jealousy tear at our hearts and souls?

These questions can send us into the pit—into the depths of our souls’ demons and fears.

And as we stay with them, we can feel possibilities reach for us—showing us how to create beauty out of the torn fragments of our lives.

Rabbi Yael Levy