Shabbat Parashat Vayishlach Slow Down! December 9, 2022 – 16 Kislev 5783

Dear Friends,

Life often has us rushing around non-stop from morning to night.  We have so much we need to accomplish.  We have so many responsibilities and so many worthwhile opportunities.

In our weekly Torah portion, after their reconciliation, Jacob declines Esau’s offer to travel together with him saying:  “You go on ahead, and I will continue at my own slower pace.” (Genesis 33:13-14)

Jacob cites his flocks and his children as the reason for his wanting to move more slowly.  However, Jacob’s words reflect a “lifestyle” choice that may be wise for all of us to consider, whether or not we are responsible for flocks and/or for children.

Moving more slowly means observing one day a week in which we do not “get ahead” in life.  That is the essential meaning of observing Shabbat.  One day a week is devoted to slowing our pace and to tuning into our spiritual needs.

Moving more slowly means understanding that bringing up our children (or tending to our future) requires so more than providing for our bare essentials.  It means understanding that sometimes, in order to bring our children up or to tend to our futures, we need more patience, more time, more space to develop our vision.   Slowing down enables us to be more successful in the long run, as a people and as individuals.

Slow down but don’t stop!  That is the message of Jacob’s decision to move at his own pace.  That is the message of Torah for all of us.
Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror