Week of Friday, November 25, 2023
The Torah saga begins the great adventures of Jacob. As soon as he leaves his mother Rebekkah’s managerial control, Jacob is on his own. Here the maturation process begins. First Jacob runs away from Esau, in fear of his life. That first night alone, God appears to him in a a dream of angels ascending and descending a ladder. God repeats the terms of the covenant in his dream: lots of progeny, inheritance of the land, and success. The place where Jacob receives this message is Beth-El, the “house of God.”
The remainder of the sedrah takes place in Mesopotamia. There he meets his first cousins, Rachel and Leah. Uncle Laban tricks him into working for twenty years, during which time Jacob marries the two sisters (first Leah), and also he marries two concubines. From these marriages are born eleven sons and one daughter, Dinah. Here we find the origin of the names of the twelve tribes of Israelite people. Jacob is tricked by Laban. Before he leaves to return to Canaan, Jacob shows his cleverness and tricks Laban and becomes very rich. The portion concludes with Jacob and his family on the way back to Canaan.