Toldot — Genesis 25:19-28:9, The Parashat Hashavua for Saturday, November 10, 2018

A week ago we experienced an amazing event: Solidarity Shabbat. After the fear and sadness following the attack in Pittsburgh, our neighbors came to our synagogue to show us that we are not alone. Faith leaders, political leaders, and regular folks joined us to worship and stand with us. After a traumatic experience it is easy to feel afraid and vulnerable. But after a trauma do we see things accurately? Do we see the world as it really is, or as we fear it may be? Near the end of this week’s Torah portion, we read these words about Isaac, “When Isaac was old and his eyes were too dim to see…” It is Isaac’s poor vision that enables Jacob to deceive him and receive the blessing reserved for the eldest son, Esau. He cannot see things as they are. Commenting on this verse, Rashi (12th C. Germany) says that one of the reasons Isaac’s vision was poor was him witnessing his father raise the knife to sacrifice him. His near death at the hands of his father was so traumatic that Isaac could never see the world accurately again. It is important for us, as Jews, as a minority living in America, to see the world clearly. We are not alone. We are supported by many friends and by a society and a government where we enjoy freedoms unimagined by our ancestors. If we stand together with others against hatred and support others in their struggle for safety and equality we do not have to be afraid.

Read Rabbi Dean’s drash from last week’s Solidarity Shabbat