Friday, November 23, 2012

Parshat Vayeitzei
Gen 28: 17 And he was frightened, and he said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."

Gen 32:2-3 And Jacob went on his way, and angels of God met him.  And Jacob said when he saw them, "This is the camp of God," and he named the place Mahanaim.

In his early adulthood, before he has married and established a household, Jacob has a religious vision and names the place the house of God (Beth El). Later, when he is moving his now large and wealthy household of wives, children, camels, goats, sheep, tents, he meets god’s messengers and calls the place the camp of God.  Why does he call the first place a house and the second place a camp? A house implies more permanence than a camp. Early in his life, he is seeking – and perhaps thinks he has found – an enduring way to encounter God. He names this experience a “house” to connote it’s permanence. Twenty years later, he realizes that even insights and encounters with God have a fleeting nature.

May we be blessed to hold even our insights lightly, realizing that with grace, they may be constantly renewed and refreshed.   

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