Friday, November 14, 2008

Vayera 2008

I write with great thanks today as I watch the sun descend and Shabbat ascend here in Jerusalem.

Yesterday evening, after sleeping for several hours, we go to my favorite part of any flight to Israel. The dark tube of a plane begins to shine inside as the window shades are raised. And at just the right moment, I see the coast and the lights of Tel Aviv. My heart soars and my eyes well up. This trip, I get to share that feeling with my youngest daughter, Amalya. I tell her about how I feel and she smiles. She smiles. She will get to see all of her friends, her school, her neighborhood and she will feel at home, as do I.

Vayera doesn’t speak of the Covenant of the Land directly. It focuses on the promise of a child, an inheritor, the continuation of the family line that is embodied in Isaac. While much of the action of the parashah happens in the context of wandering the land, most attention is paid to the family that will transmit the blessing. There are powerful, difficult texts in this parashah and we struggle with them every year. I am sure that I will experience the textual struggle tomorrow in shul - which I am so excited to be at - as I listen to the reading of the Torah.

For today, however, there is no struggle, there is only joy. There is wandering the streets of Yerushalayim, visiting with our friends from the fruit stand on Bet Lehem and Esther HaMalka streets, from the dry cleaner and her brand new four month old baby just down the street, and with Miki and Sima, where I get my hair cut. And I get to wander with one of my three wonderful promises. If only the other two and my soulmate were here with me. Life is good.

There is much to write but the sun is setting, Shabbat arrives in about 5 minutes and I have to get dressed to get to shul and dinner.

Shabbat Shalom.

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