Leah’s Blog Parashat Vayishlach 2021
Leah’s Blog – Vayishlach – The Pit and Pendulum – November 2021
A few years ago a movie crew came out here to do a film about Itamar. (It should be coming out soon) One of the segments had us one midnight in Shechem at the tomb of Yosef Hatzaddik. They weren’t ready for the simulated bombs thrown at us there nor the loud firecrackers hoisted over rooftops trying to reach us. Boom boom boom shots are fired. Why, of course – they have guns! Inside the tomb there was a peaceful quiet as I lit more candles on the tray by an indoor window that faced the men praying and dancing, oblivious to what was going on outside. Not they didn’t know, they just didn’t care. We all know the mood of Shechem; it swings from chaos to order. Oh I had stood in the dung of the donkey countless times (literally) for the last twenty years. That’s what this place, had become (a stable) after the Oslo Accords demanded for us in an urgent push, out. That was called a peace accord, according to it there is no access to Shechem if you are Jewish. But Hashem had it that it could still, somehow, at rare times be reached, like in the dead of night when the beast sleeps (or should). Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, in this case our love for Shechem is a supernatural one.
Nothing is predictable in the stories we are reading now, like nothing has us prepared completely for the next phase of history. We can try to calculate and ascertain but learning from the parsha every week is enabling us to be hopefully watchful, thoughtful and careful. The stories of ancient times teach us middot; here is where a primordial memory can guide us through, stories of cause and affect align themselves almost exactly to what we are experiencing today. We are committed to memory which is why we are constantly reviewing how our forefathers faired, how they lived and struggled. When we take the Torah out of the ark, unravel it and read, we unravel life scenarios of light and darkness, peace and judgement, strength, opportunity -weakness and threat. It’s an in depth process. Yaakov is the middle rung, middat haTiferet- sturdy, cautious, and caring. With every turn of the page, extreme passion runs deep, Shechem surrounded by two mountains is the literal see and saw of Dina as she goes to seek a rendezvous that proves that without the right synergy, reciprocal interaction and shaking of hands, a disaster can and will happen right around the sway. If curiosity has her slowly pondering about that cozy light she sees at the entrance to the stone gated wall, it has her walking there, but is she ripe in her own self confidence? A severe detour and swerve has impulse becoming the theme of this story. She is thrust out of her lull and rudely awoken with no small talk, not even face to face as Chazzal teach out Schechem Ben Chamor would have her from the flip side as well. In an obsessional and uncontrollable rape, Shechem thinks all is well and that his people will collaborate with the tribes of Yah. We don’t hear from Dina. The hook up will lead to a new confederation of joint forces; he organizes negotiations. There is zero tenderness here as raw urgent volatile impulsiveness claims to be ardent love. After knowing how Yaakov had to wait for his love, the juxtaposed story here of the initial meeting, not at the well in restraint but at the meeting point of the Blessing and the Curse here in the valley has us knowing more about the unthinkable- about the terror in the night. Now the Torah comes to teach a plan of action. It might seem as an extreme and radical reaction to circumcise every male but isn’t that what the brit is all about, teaching us to have discretion constraint and discipline. You hurt us here, we’ll hurt you here the same and more. As Shechem the place is the Dominion of Hashem – The Place of His Majesty – – שם כבוד מלכותוa tit for a tat will be had. Now the invasion of Shimone and Levi comes to rectify the crime,” for the honor of our little sister!” Boom boom boom. This was no impulse. The foreskin must come off. The pendulum of this place rocks hard now. We are committed to memory. If an enemy comes to rape you but signs a peace accord with you at the same time, know the fundamental teaching of Vayishlach. Learn self- honor.
Friends, In the coming months Friends of Itamar plans to accomplish two big projects- the finishing of our high school campus with rooms up for dedications (no donation is too large or too small) and the building of a visitors’ center here. You too can be a part of this incredible time of history. This is our partnership in the building up of the Land – we are doing this together. Our presence here serves as stents that prevent the heart of Israel from collapsing. With all my heart and soul, I would really appreciate you telling your friends before the fiscal year ends to please donate to our 501c3 Friends of Itamar- please earmark your preference of projects. Our website Friends of Itamar shows the things we do out here. I want to personally thank you all for standing with us- we have many challenges and I know we will pull through these times together- for the honor of our little sister!! Shabbat shalom, Leah