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Parashat Vayetzei - 5778

Dear friends,

In last week's Parasha we read how Jacob listened to his parents Isaac and Rebecca and left Canaan to Mesopotamia to find a mate and, at the same time, be away from his brother Esau, who has indicated that he would kill Jacob for stealing his blessings.

This week's Parasha begins with the words, "Vayetze Yaakov me Beer-Sheba, Vayelech Harana." "Jacob left Beer-Sheba, and set out for Haran." (Genesis 28:10)

The Parasha describes Jacob's journey and adventures for the next 20 years while he is separated from his parents and away from the Promised Land. On the first night of his departure he has this beautiful dream of a ladder standing on the ground, but reaching out all the way to heaven. Angels of G-d ascend and descend on this ladder, while G-d is standing by his side. During twenty long years in Haran, he is deceived by Laban, his father-in-law. Although Jacob helped Laban succeed by multiplying his herds and giving him many grandchildren, they don't get along and after twenty years he escapes with his family and his belongings. Laban gathers his own people and pursues Jacob. They end up making a peace treaty. The Parasha ends with Jacob heading towards Canaan and, again, he is met by angels of G-d who will accompany him to the Promised Land.

Many commentators have found in Jacob's life the very history of the Jewish people in the lands of their exiles. They come to a land and contribute greatly in all aspects of its life and endeavors. But the natives turn against them and they go into exile again. I believe that our own lives can be compared to that of Jacob. Life is bittersweet. In our own journeys we have angels going up and coming down - the ups and downs in our life. We encounter wonderful people as well as people who envy us and wish to harm us. Jacob learned from his challenges and failures and returns to Canaan accompanied by angels, an indication that "Hassof Tov, Hakol Tov" - in English, "All's well that ends well." That is, as long as it ended well, the bumps on the road were well worth it.

May you always be accompanied by guardian angels and may all your adventures be positive and fulfilling.

Shabbat Shalom,

Avram