Vayishlach 5773–Shabbat Torah Study at Adat Shalom Synagogue–From the Frying Pan to the Fryer

Do you ever wonder about your mission and purpose in life?  Do you ever feel like you may be outsmarting yourself? There is a Midrash about that in this week’s Parasha that reunites Yaakov (very temporarily) with his brother Eisav. The story goes that Yaakov introduced all of his children to  Uncle Eisav—except his daughter Dinah. Where was Dinah? Dinah feared that Uncle Eisav would want to take her for one of his sons since everyone seemed to like marrying cousins in those days (guess it was hard to find good families back then).  So, Dinah hid. Some criticize Dinah for this because, they say, Dinah may have had a positive effect on Eisav’s descendants that may have prevented them from becoming the Roman Empire with all of its cruelty and immorality. They say that Dinah should have been willing to work to help change Eisav for the better. Unfortunately, while Dinah thinks that she is saving herself, in the very next chapter, she is raped. Was this merely an effort to try and justify or explain what happened to Dinah? What an awful thought. Others say that Dinah was wise for recognizing that she could never have succeeded against the overwhelming evil represented by Eisav and that the rape just happened. Have you ever needed to make a choice and ended up jumping from the frying pan into the fryer? If only we could foretell the consequences of our decisions and actions before we make them. I guess the message is to always try to do the right thing, to act selflessly and hope for the best. It may also simply  be that sometimes bad things do happen to good people and we need to understand that.

 This Shabbat at Adat Shalom at 10:00 a.m., we learn with Rabbi Bergman who will be teaching on another subject from Vayishlach, “How to face you enemy, even when that enemy is yourself.” Learning with our Shabbat Torah Study is a great way to be prepared for our daily struggles. The Torah Study is completely informal, casual and friendly. Come as you are. Stay for the sermon and the rest of services if you like…or not. No judging. Just incredible learning.

 Shabbat shalom,

 Paul

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