Many of us know the story of Jacob and Esau, the brothers who could not be more different from one another. But what do these brothers have to teach us about reimagining our Jewish present and a new Jewish future? in this week’s On the Other Hand, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, puts the story into a new perspective as he teaches about Parashat Tol'dot.
Translated, Chayei Sarah means “the life of Sarah.” It’s an odd title for a parashah that opens with Sarah’s death, but even though this parashah doesn’t detail Sarah’s life, it does teach us about the kind of life she lived. Rashi tells us that in Sarah’s 127 years of living, all of her years were equally good. We know that Sarah lived with immense heartbreak, but she still saw the blessings in all of her days. Listen to Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, discuss what it means for all of our years to be equally good.
Parashat Vayeira starts with a cliffhanger. We’re told that God appeared before Abraham, but that’s it—we never find out where God appears or what God says. Instead, we get three desert wanderers, who have important news for Abraham. So, where is God in this story? Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, discusses where God may have been, and where God could be now.
Parashat Lech L’cha tells us the story of the very beginning of Jewish history, when God says to Abraham and Sarah that they are to “go forth” and begin the story of Jewish commitment. We learn a lot about the first Jews from this parashah, but perhaps one of the most important lessons is about what it means to be a hero. Listen to Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, discuss the part of the story that is too often skipped over, and what we have to learn from it.