Drash Cards for VaYeitze (5776)
by Marc Mangel
- I asked an experienced dive instructorabout certifying children for SCUBA. He said that he does not do it before they are 13 or 14 because prior to that they do not have the maturity for dive certification — they react rather than respond to situations.
- React rather than respond: to be sure if one is well trained a response can be as quick as a reaction, but whether you react or respond is often the matter of life and death in diving. For example a large fraction of divers who die still have their weight belts on, while the first thing we are taught is to drop the weight belt at time of trouble so you will shoot to the surface but instead people try to kick to the surface having run out of air.
- In Ch 31, v 42 refers to God as “the dread of Yitzchak”. About this Hirsch says that the dread is what Yitzchak felt with the knife on his throat at the akedah (react) but that he overcame it (respond).
- ‘React rather than respond’ is a good framework for thinking about Jacob/Israel. Here’s my analysis, yours may differ
- He flees because of having stolen the birthright: react
- He dreams of a ladder going between heaven and earth and concludes God was present: respond
- He agrees to work for Rachel but is tricked into working for another seven years: respond
- He snaps at Rachel when she complains about being barren: react
- He makes a complicated deal with Laban about breeding sheep and goats: respond
- He flees with his family in the night: react
- I suggest that we go forward the next weeks analyzing Jacob/Israel in this manner. Maybe he is called Jacob when reacting and Israel when responding? Keep an eye out for that.
- Now, we do not have an Al Cheit on Yom Kippur that says “For the times I reacted when I should have responded”. But perhaps one is needed to remind us about the importance of mature behavior.
- As we go forward this year working on self improvement here’s an additional focus: to reduce the number of times we react (immaturely) and increase the number of times we respond (maturely).