Up & Down: Parashat Vayetze


Parashat Vayetze 
Genesis 28:10 – 32:3

Up and down the ladder, up and down, all day long.

(It’s funny what you remember when you leave home and set out on a long journey. I find myself going back to earlier times, when we were together.)

Up and down that ladder we went, all day long. Father Isaac had asked us to mend the roof of the storage house where we kept our dried fruits and spices and nuts and digging tools and the clothes we wear for special occasions. Esau kept a lot of his hunting gear there, too.

But we discovered a leak and Father Isaac thought it would be good for us two boys to patch it and then repaint the whole roof with white lime, to shield it from the sun. The sun! It was blazing so furiously. I was not used to it. I so much prefer the cooler, darker confines of our tent.

But Esau just loves it. He threw his clothes off to be comfortable in the hot sun. I covered myself up and tried to make believe I was having an easy time. But I couldn’t fool Esau! He just loved taunting and teasing me as he leapt up the ladder while I struggled behind him, lugging the pitch and the lime, trying to keep my balance on the ladder. Going down wasn’t so bad. But going up was so hard. It felt like the ladder just kept going higher and higher, like it would never stop until it reached heaven itself!

Father Isaac is too frail to help. He watches with pride at his strong and agile son. But he has to get out of the sun and go inside and he waits for news about how we are progressing. Mother Rebecca runs back and forth. And she constantly brings us water to drink as we toil in the heat. She jokes that we drink more than thirsty camels!

Then it happened. Esau kept scolding me for being so slow. I tried to go faster and I lost my balance. I fell from the ladder and that’s the last I remember until I awoke.

And there, standing over me, was Mother, washing my forehead and whispering soothing words. She has always been there for me.

(It’s funny what thoughts come into your mind when you are away from home and exhausted. I think I will try to get some sleep. I have a long way to go until I get to Haran.)

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi David Greenstein

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image: “Ladder” © Georgios Karamanis altered and used with permission via Creative Commons License


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Rabbi David Greenstein

Rabbi David Greenstein

Rabbi David Greenstein arrived at Shomrei Emunah in August 2009 with a rich, broad and deep background as a rabbi, cantor, artist, scholar, and teacher. Being Shomrei’s rabbi, he says, allows him to draw on all of these passions, as well as his lifelong commitment to building Jewish communities.
Rabbi David Greenstein

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