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I love my brothers!

Thursday, 3 December, 2020 - 2:49 pm

Earlier this week I celebrated my 39th birthday. It was nice ushering it in with a beautiful family dinner produced by Chavie with bells and whistles just for the seven of us. While our Montana community will come together on Zoom to Farbreng, as we do each year for Yud Tes Kislev, this year with Turkish Rabbi Mendy Chitrik (sign up for the zoom link here), it was really uplifting for me to spend three hours on Tuesday with classmates, colleagues, relatives and my two brothers, Yochanan and Yanky, on a Zoom Farbrengen with our uncle Chaim Shaul who we adore and respect. It’s been hard the past nine months being away from loved ones, and having two hysterical brothers, who make me laugh and are always there for me, is something I cherish every day.

In this week’s Torah portion, Vayishlach, we read about the heartbreaking, and heartwarming, reunion of Jacob and Esau. After thirty-six years of estrangement, during which each of their families grew and their mother Rebecca passed-away, these antithetical twins reunite. They loved each other, they missed each other, but, sadly, they can’t live with each other, as Esau’s lifestyle is one of larceny, homicide, idolatry and womanizing, forcing Jacob to keep his family far away from him. At times we overlook the human aspect of our biblical figures; the grief, the hope, the sorrow, and the affection. Jacob and Esau couldn’t live with each other, but they couldn’t, and didn’t want to, ignore each other either.

Reading these stories stirs me to be grateful for my siblings. My two brothers and two sisters - aren’t just pitiful blood relatives who share my DNA, but - are my best friends. It’s not a given, as too many families experience acrimony and separation, so I am deeply appreciative of my beloved siblings. Jacob’s son Joseph had it rough with his brothers too, so did Cain and Abel, Solomon and his brother and too many others; the Torah shares these sad episodes to teach us how fragile the human ego can be and how quick a family can fall apart. I, for one, hope and pray that our family always remains unified; there is nothing like it.

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all!  

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Mashiach speedily. May G-d protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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