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Weekly Message 12.09.2022 Parashat Vayishlach

Parashat Vayishlach - (and he sent) Genesis 32:4 - 36:43

HafTorah - Obadiah 1:1 - 21

Dear friends,

As we begin our celebration in the most beautiful month of the year---sunshine, warm days, cool evenings, a clear and full moon, and surrounded by winter holiday preparations and lights, we appreciate the miracles associated with Hanukkah which launches in a little over one week.

Thanks to all who joined us at the river for the boat parade and sharing good company and food despite trying out my new once-secret recipe for potato latkes, i.e. heating up frozen ones! And we appreciate the well wishes for Chris's recovery which is going very well. And lastly, as you read this message, we will be at Metropolitan Ministries continuing our volunteer efforts to serve those in need throughout this holiday season and beyond. Thanks to all who are participating!

This Shabbat, we read the first triennial portion of Vayishlach in the Book of Genesis (Bereshit) and are reintroduced to Jacob's brother Esau and his large following which become the feared and evil Edomites and ultimately to Amalek. But before that chapter in history unfolds, Jacob and Esau are reunited after their long separation and choosing such different paths. One wonders how history might have changed had they remained close? We then follow this reading with the Book of the Prophet Obediah. Obediah himself was an Edomite descended directly from Eliphaz, the first-born son of Esau. And yet, Obadiah converted to Judaism around the middle of the 5th century B.C.E. and left us with his prophecy of the Hebrew nation eventually overcoming the descendants of Esau. Again, we think about how we share common ancestors with those who would harm us and learn that we must overcome the obstacles that divide us and like Obadiah, come together to help make this a better world. Obadiah is not the only Jewish luminary to be descended from those who might harm us. Our heroine Ruth was a Moabite and ultimately became the grandmother of King David. We must keep in mind that as human beings, we have more in common with other peoples than we have differences and that upon realizing this, we have the power to help heal the world of conflict and strife.

Please join me in-person or virtually on Zoom tonight at 7:30 pm and tomorrow at 9:30 am as we celebrate Shabbat together in prayer and fellowship. And please mark your calendars for next week, Sunday, December 18th for erev Hanukkah when we visit our assisted living residents and usher in the holiday with candle lighting and song at 1 pm and then gather at the synagogue for our festival party at 4 pm.

Shabbat Shalom!

Ron Becker,

Spiritual Leader



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