Leah’s Blog Parashat Vayerah 2023
Leah’s Blog – Vayera – November 2023
The prickly pear still grows in Shunem, just north of Mount Gilboa. This time of year the cactus flowers, its fruit hangs red, heavy and plump over dilapidated walls of rocks turned black with age. Sunken now deep into the ground, the home of the Shunamite, with the little attic of Elisha – old stories become revealed.
The history of the Jewish people is etched into the Land of Israel. Our stories happened here and the story of now is happening here as well – the focus of the world. It is not by chance that Hashem chose the very center of the world to be the axis, the portal and gateway- the center of attention. The narratives are not metaphors and the accounts are not fables but lessons imprinted into our DNA for times to come. Everything we could ever need, seek advice and wisdom are all there, printed on the pages of our Torah. Returning to the root portions of Genesis and their haftaroth take us back to what is happening now, right now. When Chesed meets Din. Isaiah (51:2) tells Am Yisrael- “look to Avraham your father, and Sarah who bore you.” The enactments of Vayera and mirrored in the haftarah have a design line of pro action, vessels filling up, hospitality, a place to stay for the wayfarer, and in turn offspring miraculously and uncannily coming in old age to childless mothers. The hidden and sublime are all here for us to take heed at this time of desperation. The story is still unfolding.
Israel is a place and people of miracles. There are those who want to cleave to us. There are those who want a holocaust. Our people have survived holocausts indeed, I too being a second generation survivor. Our people are described as in the vision of Zechariah “Is not Am Yisrael a burning stick snatched from the fire?” ” “אוד מוצל מאש – Yitzchak and the son of the Shunamite both had these promised sons at deaths door and coming back to life. Our deliverance depends on knowing these stories in our bones as the horror of what happened here just a few weeks ago hits us, as our sons go in to eradicate the beast.
A bed, chair, lamp and table are set up for the prophet in the little room above their home in Shunem. The lamp- to be a lighthouse. The chair- to make a Divine Throne. The table- “Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” The bed- a resting place. Even before the story of the Shunamite, the oil was made plenty and ready for bounty in times of anguish. “Thou has anointed my head with oil. My cup runneth over.” Arrange and develop practical and spiritual tools, endless ones to receive Divine blessings. Make YOURSELF a vessel!
There is a remedy to the evil. We revive and breathe new life into this burning stick. Yitzchak walks off the altar and the boy reawakens and returns to life in Shunem. The world rumbles, old ideas crumble in a day. Prepare the room now. Here in this Land it may seem like a place of death and devastation, of war and sorrow. Prepare! It is in fact the REVIVAL- the light- the lamp- the place of rest- the bed- the table- a place of endless bounty- the SEAT after this long journey. EQUIP! See that we must set the table and obliterate the enemy first. Most of you do not know this but Mount Gilboa is under attack now as well. The evil is not limited to one specific area but is on multiple fronts, on our borders, beyond our borders and deeply rooted into the heart of Israel. This is a war on our very home. Wherever you may be- we need you. Bless and be blessed.
Shabbat shalom! Leah