The Weekly D'rash and the Scriptures that we will be reading this Shabbat for Vayetze from Rabbi Howard Silverman:
TORAH ~ Genesis 28:10-32:2 (32:3- Tenach)
HAFTARAH ~ Hosea 12:12-14:9 (12:13-14:10- Tenach) BRIT CHADASHA ~ John 1:43-51
This week the saga of Jacob continues. He is ordered by his mother and father to flee to Paddan-Aram where his mother's family resides. There are two reasons. First, he is running away from Esau who has threatened to kill him. Second, he needs to find a wife, and it was from his extended family that he would find a suitable mate (much like his father). Now, for the first time, Jacob who had been remarkably close to his mother finds himself all alone and in an extremely dangerous situation. In Genesis 28:10–22 we read the story of his first night on the road. When he lays down to go to sleep, he has a unique encounter with God in a dream. He sees angels going up and down a staircase. God is above him. This does not mean that God was located on top of the staircase even though many English translations depict him there. God is standing over or beside Jacob. There are many instances in the Hebrew text where the word means next to someone, or standing by someone, or having authority over someone. May I suggest that God is not on top of the staircase because in the life of the patriarchs, and overall in the Bible, God appears to people without the need for intermediaries. This is not a dream about angels being intermediaries between God and Jacob. The stairway and the angels demonstrate that that there is an invisible heavenly realm and that messengers (the Hebrew word for angels) of God go back and forth. But God is present with Jacob. If Jacob were going to be successful on this journey, he would have to have a personal experience or relationship with God. Until now, we could say that Jacob had a knowledge and belief in God, but now God gives him a personal assurance of His presence and protection for the journey. God tells him that He would travel with him everywhere, even to Mesopotamia. This certainly empowered Jacob, and we know from the rest of the story that it was a difficult journey, but God sustained him. Jacob never lost hope—even when he had to stay with Laban an extra seven years, or when he had to leave the land again to go to Egypt. As we will see over the next few weeks, Jacob lived a difficult life. But he adapted to his difficult circumstances knowing that God remained with him. Remember that at the beginning of the story of Jacob, we learn that Jacob is a nation. When we see Jacob, we see the Jewish people throughout history. God has travelled with the Jewish people wherever we may have been. This means that because of His covenant faithfulness, He never leaves or forsakes us. There have been times when He has "hidden his face", but He has never forsaken His people. For you and me today, this is an important truth. Now that the Messiah has come, all who embrace Him have an intimacy with God that was not available to our ancestors. He dwells within us. In John 1:51 we read, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man". In Yeshua, we now have access to the heavenly places. This is the presence of the future. As we adapt to changing and challenging circumstances, God does not leave or forsake us. In fact, may I suggest that today God is empowering us not only to endure, but to overcome the challenges that we face because we dwell in him in heavenly places. For example, the fact that we are not meeting in person reminds us that God is not located only at 4950 Morse Road. It is true that when we gather, He is in our midst. But just as God was at Bethel, He travelled with Jacob everywhere he went. God is with you and me wherever we are and in whatever we are doing. In addition, we are with Him where He is! Yeshua said, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me". We abide in Him and He abides in us. During these challenging times, may we remember our identity in Messiah. Moreover, let us remember that if we take the initiative in our walk with the Lord, we will bear much fruit. May this season be one of new opportunities and of encountering God at a depth that we have never experienced before. Shabbat Shalom! Rabbi Howard TORAH READING: GENESIS 28:10 – 32:2 (32:3 – Tenach) 28:10 Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place. 12 He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of G-d were ascending and descending on it. 13 And behold, the L-rd stood above it and said, "I am the L-rd, the G-d of your father Abraham and the G-d of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. 14 "Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 "Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the L-rd is in this place, and I did not know it." 17 He was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of G-d, and this is the gate of heaven." 18 So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If G-d will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, 21 and I return to my father's house in safety, then the L-rd will be my G-d. 22 "This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be G-d's house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You." 29:1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the sons of the east. 2 He looked, and saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep were lying there beside it, for from that well they watered the flocks. Now the stone on the mouth of the well was large. 3 When all the flocks were gathered there, they would then roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place on the mouth of the well. 4 Jacob said to them, "My brothers, where are you from?" And they said, "We are from Haran." 5 He said to them, "Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?" And they said, "We know him." 6 And he said to them, "Is it well with him?" And they said, "It is well, and here is Rachel his daughter coming with the sheep." 7 He said, "Behold, it is still high day; it is not time for the livestock to be gathered. Water the sheep, and go, pasture them." 8 But they said, "We cannot, until all the flocks are gathered, and they roll the stone from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep." 9 While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep, for she was a shepherdess. 10 When Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, Jacob went up and rolled the stone from the mouth of the well and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted his voice and wept. 12 Jacob told Rachel that he was a relative of her father and that he was Rebekah's son, and she ran and told her father. 13 So when Laban heard the news of Jacob his sister's son, he ran to meet him, and embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Then he related to Laban all these things. 14 Laban said to him, "Surely you are my bone and my flesh." And he stayed with him a month. 15 Then Laban said to Jacob, "Because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?" 16 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 And Leah's eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful of form and face. 18 Now Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, "I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel." 19 Laban said, "It is better that I give her to you than to give her to another man; stay with me." 20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her. 21 Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife, for my time is completed, that I may go in to her." 22 Laban gathered all the men of the place and made a feast. 23 Now in the evening he took his daughter Leah, and brought her to him; and Jacob went in to her. 24 Laban also gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah as a maid. 25 So it came about in the morning that, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served with you? Why then have you deceived me?" 26 But Laban said, "It is not the practice in our place to marry off the younger before the firstborn. 27 "Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also for the service which you shall serve with me for another seven years." 28 Jacob did so and completed her week, and he gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife. 29 Laban also gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maid. 30 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and indeed he loved Rachel more than Leah, and he served with Laban for another seven years. 31 Now the L-rd saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32 Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben, for she said, "Because the L-rd has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me." 33 Then she conceived again and bore a son and said, "Because the L-rd has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also." So she named him Simeon. 34 She conceived again and bore a son and said, "Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons." Therefore he was named Levi. 35 And she conceived again and bore a son and said, "This time I will praise the L-rd." Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing. 30:1 Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, "Give me children, or else I die." 2 Then Jacob's anger burned against Rachel, and he said, "Am I in the place of G-d, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?" 3 She said, "Here is my maid Bilhah, go in to her that she may bear on my knees, that through her I too may have children." 4 So she gave him her maid Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her. 5 Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6 Then Rachel said, "G-d has vindicated me, and has indeed heard my voice and has given me a son." Therefore she named him Dan. 7 Rachel's maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8 So Rachel said, "With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and I have indeed prevailed." And she named him Naphtali. 9 When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Leah's maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 Then Leah said, "How fortunate!" So she named him Gad. 12 Leah's maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13 Then Leah said, "Happy am I! For women will call me happy." So she named him Asher. 14 Now in the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes." 15 But she said to her, "Is it a small matter for you to take my husband? And would you take my son's mandrakes also?" So Rachel said, "Therefore he may lie with you tonight in return for your son's mandrakes." 16 When Jacob came in from the field in the evening, then Leah went out to meet him and said, "You must come in to me, for I have surely hired you with my son's mandrakes." So he lay with her that night. 17 G-d gave heed to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Then Leah said, "G-d has given me my wages because I gave my maid to my husband." So she named him Issachar. 19 Leah conceived again and bore a sixth son to Jacob. 20 Then Leah said, "G-d has endowed me with a good gift; now my husband will dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons." So she named him Zebulun. 21 Afterward she bore a daughter and named her Dinah. 22 Then G-d remembered Rachel, and G-d gave heed to her and opened her womb. 23 So she conceived and bore a son and said, "G-d has taken away my reproach." 24 She named him Joseph, saying, "May the L-rd give me another son." 25 Now it came about when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, "Send me away, that I may go to my own place and to my own country. 26 "Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me depart; for you yourself know my service which I have rendered you." 27 But Laban said to him, "If now it pleases you, stay with me; I have divined that the L-rd has blessed me on your account." 28 He continued, "Name me your wages, and I will give it." 29 But he said to him, "You yourself know how I have served you and how your cattle have fared with me. 30 "For you had little before I came and it has increased to a multitude, and the L-rd has blessed you wherever I turned. But now, when shall I provide for my own household also?" 31 So he said, "What shall I give you?" And Jacob said, "You shall not give me anything. If you will do this one thing for me, I will again pasture and keep your flock: 32 let me pass through your entire flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted sheep and every black one among the lambs and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and such shall be my wages. 33 "So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come concerning my wages. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, will be considered stolen." 34 Laban said, "Good, let it be according to your word." 35 So he removed on that day the striped and spotted male goats and all the speckled and spotted female goats, every one with white in it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave them into the care of his sons. 36 And he put a distance of three days' journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks. 37 Then Jacob took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white stripes in them, exposing the white which was in the rods. 38 He set the rods which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the gutters, even in the watering troughs, where the flocks came to drink; and they mated when they came to drink. 39 So the flocks mated by the rods, and the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted. 40 Jacob separated the lambs, and made the flocks face toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban; and he put his own herds apart, and did not put them with Laban's flock. 41 Moreover, whenever the stronger of the flock were mating, Jacob would place the rods in the sight of the flock in the gutters, so that they might mate by the rods; 42 but when the flock was feeble, he did not put them in; so the feebler were Laban's and the stronger Jacob's. 43 So the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks and female and male servants and camels and donkeys. 31:1 Now Jacob heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, "Jacob has taken away all that was our father's, and from what belonged to our father he has made all this wealth." 2 Jacob saw the attitude of Laban, and behold, it was not friendly toward him as formerly. 3 Then the L-rd said to Jacob, "Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you." 4 So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to his flock in the field, 5 and said to them, "I see your father's attitude, that it is not friendly toward me as formerly, but the G-d of my father has been with me. 6 "You know that I have served your father with all my strength. 7 "Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times; however, G-d did not allow him to hurt me. 8 "If he spoke thus, 'The speckled shall be your wages,' then all the flock brought forth speckled; and if he spoke thus, 'The striped shall be your wages,' then all the flock brought forth striped. 9 "Thus G-d has taken away your father's livestock and given them to me. 10 "And it came about at the time when the flock were mating that I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the male goats which were mating were striped, speckled, and mottled. 11 "Then the angel of G-d said to me in the dream, 'Jacob,' and I said, 'Here I am.' 12 "He said, 'Lift up now your eyes and see that all the male goats which are mating are striped, speckled, and mottled; for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13 'I am the G-d of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth.'" 14 Rachel and Leah said to him, "Do we still have any portion or inheritance in our father's house? 15 "Are we not reckoned by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and has also entirely consumed our purchase price. 16 "Surely all the wealth which G-d has taken away from our father belongs to us and our children; now then, do whatever G-d has said to you." 17 Then Jacob arose and put his children and his wives upon camels; 18 and he drove away all his livestock and all his property which he had gathered, his acquired livestock which he had gathered in Paddan-aram, to go to the land of Canaan to his father Isaac. 19 When Laban had gone to shear his flock, then Rachel stole the household idols that were her father's. 20 And Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him that he was fleeing. 21 So he fled with all that he had; and he arose and crossed the Euphrates River, and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead. 22 When it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled, 23 then he took his kinsmen with him and pursued him a distance of seven days' journey, and he overtook him in the hill country of Gilead. 24 G-d came to Laban the Aramean in a dream of the night and said to him, "Be careful that you do not speak to Jacob either good or bad." 25 Laban caught up with Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban with his kinsmen camped in the hill country of Gilead. 26 Then Laban said to Jacob, "What have you done by deceiving me and carrying away my daughters like captives of the sword? 27 "Why did you flee secretly and deceive me, and did not tell me so that I might have sent you away with joy and with songs, with timbrel and with lyre; 28 and did not allow me to kiss my sons and my daughters? Now you have done foolishly. 29 "It is in my power to do you harm, but the G-d of your father spoke to me last night, saying, 'Be careful not to speak either good or bad to Jacob.' 30 "Now you have indeed gone away because you longed greatly for your father's house; but why did you steal my G-ds?" 31 Then Jacob replied to Laban, "Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force. 32 "The one with whom you find your G-ds shall not live; in the presence of our kinsmen point out what is yours among my belongings and take it for yourself." For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them. 33 So Laban went into Jacob's tent and into Leah's tent and into the tent of the two maids, but he did not find them. Then he went out of Leah's tent and entered Rachel's tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken the household idols and put them in the camel's saddle, and she sat on them. And Laban felt through all the tent but did not find them. 35 She said to her father, "Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the manner of women is upon me." So he searched but did not find the household idols. 36 Then Jacob became angry and contended with Laban; and Jacob said to Laban, "What is my transgression? What is my sin that you have hotly pursued me? 37 "Though you have felt through all my goods, what have you found of all your household goods? Set it here before my kinsmen and your kinsmen, that they may decide between us two. 38 "These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten the rams of your flocks. 39 "That which was torn of beasts I did not bring to you; I bore the loss of it myself. You required it of my hand whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40 "Thus I was: by day the heat consumed me and the frost by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. 41 "These twenty years I have been in your house; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flock, and you changed my wages ten times. 42 "If the G-d of my father, the G-d of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had not been for me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. G-d has seen my affliction and the toil of my hands, so He rendered judgment last night." 43 Then Laban replied to Jacob, "The daughters are my daughters, and the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day to these my daughters or to their children whom they have borne? 44 "So now come, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it be a witness between you and me." 45 Then Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. 46 Jacob said to his kinsmen, "Gather stones." So they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there by the heap. 47 Now Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed. 48 Laban said, "This heap is a witness between you and me this day." Therefore it was named Galeed, 49 and Mizpah, for he said, "May the L-rd watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. 50 "If you mistreat my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us, see, G-d is witness between you and me." 51 Laban said to Jacob, "Behold this heap and behold the pillar which I have set between you and me. 52 "This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass by this heap to you for harm, and you will not pass by this heap and this pillar to me, for harm. 53 "The G-d of Abraham and the G-d of Nahor, the G-d of their father, judge between us." So Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac. 54 Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain, and called his kinsmen to the meal; and they ate the meal and spent the night on the mountain. 55 Early in the morning Laban arose, and kissed his sons and his daughters and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned to his place. 32:1 Now as Jacob went on his way, the angels of G-d met him. 2 Jacob said when he saw them, "This is G-d's camp." So he named that place Mahanaim. HAFTARAH READING: HOSEA 12:12 – 14:9 (12:13 – 14:10 – Tenach) 12:12 Now Jacob fled to the land of Aram, And Israel worked for a wife, And for a wife he kept sheep. 13 But by a prophet the L-rd brought Israel from Egypt, And by a prophet he was kept. 14 Ephraim has provoked to bitter anger; So his L-rd will leave his bloodguilt on him And bring back his reproach to him. 13:1 When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling. He exalted himself in Israel, But through Baal he did wrong and died. 2 And now they sin more and more, And make for themselves molten images, Idols skillfully made from their silver, All of them the work of craftsmen. They say of them, "Let the men who sacrifice kiss the calves!" 3 Therefore they will be like the morning cloud And like dew which soon disappears, Like chaff which is blown away from the threshing floor And like smoke from a chimney. 4 Yet I have been the L-rd your G-d Since the land of Egypt; And you were not to know any G-d except Me, For there is no savior besides Me. 5 I cared for you in the wilderness, In the land of drought. 6 As they had their pasture, they became satisfied, And being satisfied, their heart became proud; Therefore they forgot Me. 7 So I will be like a lion to them; Like a leopard I will lie in wait by the wayside. 8 I will encounter them like a bear robbed of her cubs, And I will tear open their chests; There I will also devour them like a lioness, As a wild beast would tear them. 9 It is your destruction, O Israel, That you are against Me, against your help. 10 Where now is your king That he may save you in all your cities, And your judges of whom you requested, "Give me a king and princes "? 11 I gave you a king in My anger And took him away in My wrath. 12 The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; His sin is stored up. 13 The pains of childbirth come upon him; He is not a wise son, For it is not the time that he should delay at the opening of the womb. 14 Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from death? O Death, where are your thorns? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion will be hidden from My sight. 15 Though he flourishes among the reeds, An east wind will come, The wind of the L-rd coming up from the wilderness; And his fountain will become dry And his spring will be dried up; It will plunder his treasury of every precious article. 16 Samaria will be held guilty, For she has rebelled against her G-d. They will fall by the sword, Their little ones will be dashed in pieces, And their pregnant women will be ripped open. 14:1 Return, O Israel, to the L-rd your G-d, For you have stumbled because of your iniquity. 2 Take words with you and return to the L-rd. Say to Him, "Take away all iniquity And receive us graciously, That we may present the fruit of our lips. 3 "Assyria will not save us, We will not ride on horses; Nor will we say again, 'Our G-d,' To the work of our hands; For in You the orphan finds mercy." 4 I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from them. 5 I will be like the dew to Israel; He will blossom like the lily, And he will take root like the cedars of Lebanon. 6 His shoots will sprout, And his beauty will be like the olive tree And his fragrance like the cedars of Lebanon. 7 Those who live in his shadow Will again raise grain, And they will blossom like the vine. His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon. 8 O Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like a luxuriant cypress; From Me comes your fruit. 9 Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; Whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the L-rd are right, And the righteous will walk in them, But transgressors will stumble in them. B’RIT CHADASHAH READING: JOHN 1:43-51 1:43 The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He found Philip. And Yeshua said to him, "Follow Me." 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote-- Yeshua of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." 46 Nathanael said to him, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." 47 Yeshua saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!" 48 Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" Yeshua answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." 49 Nathanael answered Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of G-d; You are the King of Israel." 50 Yeshua answered and said to him, "Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these." 51 And He said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of G-d ascending and descending on the Son of Man."