Rabbi Eisen’s Shabbat Shalom Message

Shabbat Shalom!


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Click here for full text of the
Torah and Haftarah portions.


Candlelighting for
Friday, November 28, 2014 • 5:00pm

• Our Portion for the Week •

VAYETZE – GENESIS 28:10 – 32:3
In this portion, we follow the fortunes of Jacob as he leaves the land of Canaan to travel to the ancestral home in Mesopotamia, spends 20 years there and leaves to return to Canaan. Jacob, fleeing for this life, stops for the night at a place near the border and has a dream in which angels ascend and descend a ladder to heaven. God confirms the blessing of Abraham for Jacob, and Jacob, upon awakening, names the place Beth El – the House of God. Arriving in Mesopotamia, Jacob encounters Rachel, his cousin, at a well and falls in love with her. He negotiates with his uncle, Laban, for Rachel's hand, is tricked by Laban, then decides it is time to return home. He leaves with two wives, two concubines, 11 sons, one daughter and much livestock. These events show how Jacob begins to become worthy of the blessing he has been given and of being the successor to Abraham and Isaac.

• Our Question for the Week •

And Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac.
(Genesis 31:53)

What does it mean to be God-fearing? Is fear of God a desirable spiritual goal? Who in today's Jewish community (or beyond) exemplifies the "fear" (or reverence or awe, etc.) mentioned in our verse?

Why is fear the defining ingredient specifically of Isaac's relationship with God? Jacob's oath to God is linked to the experience of his own father. How would you want your children and their children to understand your relationship to God?