Parsha ‘Vayetze’ (Genesis 28:10 through 32:3) begins the new, and most critical part of the live of Yakov, as he leaves home, goes to the place where he sees His ladder, and then sojourns with the infamous Laban and ultimately takes his four wives, and fathers the twelve tribes.
The Erev Shabbat reading lays it out:
This parsha contains a number of interesting and unforgettable images and lessons:
“Jacob’s Ladder” that reaches to ‘the heavens’ and upon which “angels ascend and descend.”
Yakov meeting Raquel/Rachel. Yakov/Jacob sleeping with ‘the wrong one’ on his wedding night.
The mysteries of ‘mandrakes’ and streaked sticks.
And why Raquel took her father’s pagan idols. As well as what followed.
But Mark was led to focus this year on the fact that this is simply the story of the BEGINNING of Yakov’s journey, in so many ways.
And that’s still true.
And often, the focus of the midrash for this parsha tends to be the drama of Yakov evidently lying to his father Yitzak, while impersonating his brother Esau. But just how great was that deception, really, and how does the context matter?
But Mark suggests the story only begins with, ‘what did Yitzak know, and when did he know it?’
Or, when did he at least figure it out?
We know that there is a conflict described here that is still raging. Because the cycles still ‘rhyme’.
“Vayetze: Yakov’s Journey Begins – and Still Rhymes for Us”
The combined two-part teaching is here: