February 4, 2023
Parashat Vayetze
“Vayetze”, a painting by Starr Weems

When you Choose Shabbat, you choose to learn that every Shabbat is different and special. This week I learned that Parashat Vayetze (Genesis 28:10 through 32:3) is the seventh weekly Torah portion in the annual cycle of Torah readings. According to Wikipedia, Vayetze is made up of 7,512 Hebrew letters, 2021 words, 148 verses and 235 lines of the Torah Scroll. The parashah tells of many things; Jacob’s travels to, life in and return from Harran; Jacob’s dream of a ladder to heaven; Jacob’s meeting of Rachel at the well; Jacob’s time working for Laban and living with Rachel and Leah; the birth of Jacob’s children and the departure of Jacob’s family from Laban.

Rabbi Michael D Klein of Temple Torat Emet offers his insights on this week’s Torah reading, Vayetze:

The Sedra Vayetze focuses on the great drama that shapes the lives of Jacob, his wives, and their children. It also paints a vivid picture of the tumultuous relationship between Jacob and his father-in-law Laban who tries to deceive Jacob at every opportunity. The dynamic of strife between the sisters and their handmaids, between Jacob and Laban would eventually lead to Jacob coming face to face with his own character and the realization that could only succeed in life by standing up to the evil intentions of Laban by showing faith and belief in G-d.

Jacob’s faith is rewarded by overcoming the wiles of Laban and by amassing his own wealth and a family of 13 children. He will still have to face his greatest challenge by facing his own weaknesses before eventually being reunited with his brother Esau. The ladder in Jacob’s dream makes him aware of G-d’s ever guiding presence and increases his mindfulness of G-d’s presence in every location. So, too, we are made aware of G-d’s presence all around us and must guide our words and deeds to be deemed worthy of receiving the “Ol Hashamayim” -the Yoke of Heaven, to guide us and guard us in all our actions, just as was done by our ancestor Jacob during his lifetime.

Rabbi Michael D. Klein

Rabbi Michael D. Klein attended Yeshiva College of South Florida and served as Torah Reader, Hebrew teacher, Chazzan and spiritual leader of various synagogues throughout South Florida. In January 2015 he became Ritual Director, Bnai/Bnot Mitzvah instructor and 7th grade Hebrew instructor for Temple Torat Emet of Boynton Beach. In October 2019 he was accepted into an accelerated track and received his shicha from Yeshiva Adath Wolkowisk and has been the Rabbinic leadership of Temple Torat Emet since August 2020. In September of 2022 he was appointed Rabbinic and Spiritual Advisor of the Florida Region of FJMC.

Choose Shabbat; choose to celebrate, to light candles, sing songs and learn a little Torah.

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