Vayetze “And he went out”
Just In Case
It is said that truth is far stranger than fiction. Nowhere is that statement more true that in the life of Jacob. The account of his life during the years with Laban, the marriages to Leah and Rachael and the birth of the first children is a story no one could have ever dreamed up! The twists and turns of this man’s life at times make you sit just shaking your head in disbelief. When we consider that this man is one of the Patriarchs and that his sons are the ones whose names are inscribed on the gates of the New Jerusalem … well, let’s just say it gives us hope for our lives today.
Yes, this is the story of those whose family we are grafted into. And we wonder why we look a bit dysfunctional at times. Looks like the nuts did not fall too far from the tree on this one!
In the account, Jacob has finally had enough of Mr. Nose Ring, Laban, and decides it is high time for him to take his family and head back to the home he has been promised. But will the story of his return be any more normal than his life to this point? Of course not!
Another saying that comes into play this week is that “Love is blind.” This is certainly true in Jacob’s relationship with his favored wife Rachael. It has been over fourteen years that he has been in love with her, and in fourteen years he has been blinded to a part of her life that we will read in coming weeks would continue to bring heartache to his life and to his family. What is this part of Rachael’s life? We find it in Genesis 31:19 when Rachael steals the household idols of her father, Laban.
To understand this act we have to understand what these idols were all about. These idols were carvings of false gods which Laban worshipped. He had no doubt taught his family they were bringing blessings and some sort of “luck” to his family. Rachael had seen her father trust in these little idols and had heard him tell stories of giving them credit for the blessings of his life. Rachael bought into this and accepted it all as truth.
Along comes Jacob and during the years of work and marriage to Rachael, he tells her of this “New God,” the God of his father and his grandfather. When it comes time to leave Rachael is in a bit of a spot. Does she forsake her father and his gods to follow her husband and his God? What if we just appear on the surface to be following the God of Jacob, but just in case He does not come through, we reserve something to fall back on? Now that sounds like a good idea, does it not?
About this time, we should all be staring at these words and asking ourselves a very serious question, “Just how much of Rachael’s attitude is in our lives today?” Yes, “OUCH” is a very appropriate word to use here!
Through the years that I have been pursuing Torah, I have seen a multitude of people come and go. Many have come in with the attitude of “I will give this ‘Torah Thing’ a try, but if it does not work out for me, I can still go back to the way I grew up.” Or better yet, they decide to carry both at the same time, just seeing which one will work out better for their needs in the end.
We will see in coming weeks how riding the fence did not work out very well for Rachael. In fact, as we continue to read the Torah, we will find this approach does not work out very well for anyone.
This is not a day to be found wavering. It is a day to make clear choices of just which direction we are going in life. Will we truly serve the Elohim of the Scriptures or will we serve the lies and falsehoods that have been handed down through the past centuries? Many still need to make that decision! I can think of no better month to decide our path than the one which we enter next Shabbat. Will we stand with the Torah faithful during the time of Hanukah or will we trust in idols of trees, ornaments and lights of the false gods? To quote Joshua out of next week’s readings, “As for me and my house …” I hope you know the answer.