Thought for Shabbat – November 20, 2020
Rebecca, the wife of Isaac is unable to have children. Unlike his father Abraham, he does not try to have a child with another woman. Instead he sits by his wife and prays with her so that she can bear children. God hears their prayers and Rebecca becomes pregnant.
We picture this moment as Isaac is next to Rebecca and prays together with her for this great gift. It was certainly unusual as up until this moment we have not seen this type of united emotion in the Torah. This is not just an act of prayer to God but an expression of love between husband and wife. And it is to this act of pure, unselfish love to which God responds.
But the answer to their prayers is not easy. Rebecca gives birth to twins who are rivals even inside her womb. The pregnancy is difficult and the twins are rivals for much of their lives. Jacob is forced to run away so that Esau does not kill him.
Because while they were united and of one mind when they prayed for these children, they were not of one mind in raising them. Esau is Isaac’s favorite and Jacob is Rebecca’s, leading to a life of conflict and outright hatred between the boys. Jacob and Rebecca are not perfect parents. But then again, who is?
The only thing we can guarantee our children is our love. In every type of relationship, whether it be between husband and wife or parent and child or friendships, or any other relationship based on love, the only thing any of us can be sure to do is do our unselfish, loving best. A consistent best, even when flawed, is the best route to acceptance and a life of love.
This year and this coming week, perhaps more than ever, we need to express that love. We need to engage and let those we love know how much we are thankful for their love and what we are willing to do to prove it. This year staying away is an act of love. But so is reaching out in other ways. Reach out and thank someone and you might make their holiday more special. And perhaps while you are at it, thank God for the gift of love in your life.
Rabbi Yaier Lehrer
“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.” – Henry David Thoreau
We are looking forward to having our seventh graders lead parts of our service tonight. The link is in this morning’s congregational email if you do not have it. If you need it, please contact me and I will provide it.