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Can we find hope, maybe next week? -- Shabbat Message 11/21/14

Posted on 11/21/2014 @ 11:00 AM

This week we read that Isaac and Rebecca conceive a child after twenty years.  Though ecstatic, it is said the Rebecca has a difficult pregnancy as the “children struggle inside her.”   God tells Rebecca that she is carrying two nations.  This famous imagery from Parshat Toldot provides a backdrop to the fighting in the Middle East that we see today.  Rebecca eventually gives birth to Esau, who is said to be a “father” of Islam and Jacob, who continues the bloodline of the Israelites.  The fighting between the two young brothers is often seen as a foreshadowing of the unfortunate ongoing conflict between the Israelis and her neighboring brothers.

This past week, tragedy came to our Homeland. Terror attacks appear on the rise with diminishing hope in sight. The pictures – and the future – seem bleak.

But perhaps there will be a light at the end of this dark tunnel - when we look ahead in the Torah, past the young, fighting Jacob and Esau. Next week, in Parshat Vayishlach we will see that Jacob wants to reconcile with his brother but fears Esau is on a war path.  He sends his family away and meets with Esau who has an army of 400 men.  Instead of committing acts of war, Jacob and Esau embrace and part ways.  There is no blood shed and no war between them.

This past week 85 BBYO teen leaders joined over 400 teens at the AIPAC Schusterman Advocacy Institute High School Summit.  There they learned how to strengthen the US-Israel relationship through the political process and advocated on Capitol Hill.  Just like the phrase והיפדרו םולש שקב (bakesh shalom v’rodfeihu - seek peace and pursue it), our teens were taught that peace does not just happen, and that we must learn and embrace all sides of the conflict in order to pursue it.

In the Torah this week we see children warring.  Yet next week they mature and reconcile.  How can we be the agents of the change we wish to see, helping our teens learn and pursue, and thus bringing us all closer to peace to the Middle East?

This Shabbat Message was written by ILSI co-directors, Aleeza Lubing & Joey Eisman

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