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Parashat Beshalach: In Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - Get Going!

November 20, 2020

Last week’s Torah portion was Toldot. This is a difficult Torah portion for family dynamics. We read the story of Rebecca and Isaac, the twins Jacob and Esau. These parents and siblings trick each other, they lie to each other, and Jacob even steals the birthright from his brother, receiving Isaac’s blessing in place of Esau. 

And this is a difficult year for families as we approach our next secular holiday, Thanksgiving. For some, Thanksgiving is typically a joyous time; for others, Thanksgiving is a time of conflict at the dinner table, or sadness about loved ones whose seats are empty or from whom we are estranged. In past years, perhaps you struggled over politics at the Thanksgiving table. This year’s struggle may be even getting to the table in the first place, and balancing everyone’s health and safety with a desire to be together. No matter how we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, the holiday will be bittersweet.

 While we need to wait until after this week’s parasha, our warring twins, Jacob and Esau, do reunite later in the Torah. They resolve their differences. They embrace. After many years of separation and struggle, they are able to be together again.This year, our Thanksgivings may look very different, or they may carry the same challenges for us as in years past. In this strange year, I pray that our Thanksgiving holiday may still be one of blessing, even in our wrestling, our sense of loss, or our discomfort. May we count our blessings and be grateful for all that we have, and appreciate it all the more so in this difficult year. May we be blessed with gratitude and peace.

Rabbi Liz P.G. Hirsch
Temple Anshe Amunim | Pittsfield, MA

Tue, January 19 2021 6 Shevat 5781