Friday, November 26, 2010

Vayeshev - speaking in peace

Parshat Vayeshev
 Gen. Ch. 37:4.  “When his (Joseph’s) brothers saw that it was he whom their father loved above all of his brothers – from then on they hated him, and could not speak to him in peace.”  

This week of Thanksgiving, when many of us are with family, we have a parsha about family strife.  Joseph’s brothers were so caught in their feelings of anger, jealousy and resentment that they were unable to be at peace with him.  These feelings were understandable since Joseph lauded over them and recounted to them dreams in which they bowed down to him.  Yet the brothers were enslaved by their feelings.

As we spend time with family can we notice our feelings and expectations for how we want people to be with each other?  Can we see the histories of the relationships and have compassion for where each one is, as well as for ourselves?  Can we wish each person simach (joy), chesed (lovingkindness), rachamim (compassion), and shalom (peace)?  May the holiday be a blessing. 

{thanks to Morechai Liebling for inspiration for this drash)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vayeitzei - Waking Up

Parshat Vayeitzei
Genisis 28:16 “ And Jacob awakened from his sleep, and he said, "Indeed, the Lord is in this place, and I did not know."

When we lose touch with the holy, wondrous, creative force manifesting in each place and each moment, we are like sleepwalkers in our own lives. Seeking to know helps us to wake up.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Toldot - Making Space for Peace

Parshat Toldot:
Yitzhak and his servants dig a well, quarrel with the shepherds of Gerar, and name the well Esek/Bickering.
They dig another well, quarrel over it, and name it Sitna/Animosity.
Genesis Ch.26: 22 - “He moved on from there and dug another well, but they did not quarrel over it, so he called its name: Rehovot/Space.”

Struggling to find something as necessary as water in the desert, we risk locking ourselves in a struggle that deepens from bickering to full-blown animosity. Moving away, physically and mentally, lessens the desperate attachment, allowing spaciousness to infuse the situation. In the new space, new ways of relating are discovered, finally creating space for peace to flow.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Vayeira - Here I Am

Parshat Vayeira:   Ch.22: 1 :   “Hineni - Here I am.” (Abraham speaking to G-d)
                               Ch. 22:7 :   “Hineni - Here I am.” (Abraham speaking to Isaac)
                                Ch. 22:11:  “Hineni.- Here I am.” (Abraham speaking to the angel)

This is the highest practice: to say “Here I am” to every relationship, being fully present to what is larger than our selves, to what we care for and love, and to those who bring us connection.