Thinking About the Sermon - Parshat Vayetzei
In synagogue on Shabbat, I talked about how Jacob survives all the threats and trials he encounters in his difficult life. Not only that, it is particularly when he feels most vulnerable that he feels Hashem's presence in his life.
What do you think it was about Jacob that gave him that strength to continue? Perhaps you can find the answer in this interesting article by Dr Renee Garfinkel who discusses why people who are materialistic have a more difficult time coping with trauma.
Do you ever feel threatened and vulnerable? When you feel this way, are you able to remind yourself that, despite everything, your relationship with God continues and you can feel His blessing in your life?
In my sermon, I mentioned a haunting passage from the book of Ezekiel and how it inspired the author of ‘Hatikvah’. You can hear a stirring description of this idea along with its meaning and significance in this video (from 9 mins.) by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, which culminates in the singing of hatikvah.
I also talked about how the Jewish People have inherited Jacob’s characteristic for rejuvenation in the face of trial and tragedy. In this short, moving video, you can watch Holocaust survivor Branko Lustig celebrate his Bar Mitzvah at Auschwitz, together with the insightful reflections of Chaim Topol and Steven Spielberg.