We had some delicious challah left over from last Shabbat. It was perfect for challah French toast. A large thick loaf, with a soft, absorbent inside. Perfect for soaking up the egg, milk, and orange juice batter. I ask my youngest daughter Bella if she would like some. Her response, “Yes, if we have maple syrup. Did you know that 80% of maple syrup comes from Canada and 70% of that comes from Quebec?” No, I did not know that. But I’m glad that served as motivation for breakfast. There are times when I look at my children and wonder how they all were raised by the same parents.
Our Torah portion, Vayishlach continues to chronicle two siblings, Jacob, and Esau, two young men who born to the same parents could not have been more different. Last week’s reading, Vayetzei, told of these differences. Esau, more earthly, raw, and base; Jacob, headier and more refined, perhaps more vulnerable to influence as well. Brothers, with so much potential empathy for one another, and still discord.
In this week’s reading, Esau pursues his own ambitions and builds a life and family, mostly out of our – the reader’s – view. Jacob, on the other hand, is at the center of our attention as he toils under his uncle’s manipulation and deception. Our Torah reading ends with a reconciliation between these brothers – a strong and forgiving Esau, and a guarded, Jacob, hobbled by his wrestling match with a “man.” Two grown men of the same parentage and so very different yet seeking the same thing. Repair. Resolution. Understanding, if not agreement.
We aren’t born in the same household; our influences even more different, one from another. And at times, our quarrels run deep and are equally complex. How might Esau’s and Jacob’s repair model for us a path toward such understanding, if not agreement? How might we engage through our differences and not distance ourselves because of them?
Join us for such exploration as JEWISHcolorado launches a unique and important leadership learning journey in partnership with the Shalom Hartman Institute and series of important community conversations: https://www.jewishcolorado.org/wp-content/uploads/Courageous-Leadership-one-sheet-Both-Cohorts.pdf
Rabbi Jay Strear
President & CEO
Please email Rabbi Strear at CEO@JEWISHcolorado.org with comments or questions.