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Will Jacob Bow Down To You

Thursday, 3 December, 2015 - 12:15 pm

I hope my children grow up to be better than me. I hope that they blaze their own path and that when they do, I hope they remember the lessons they learnt and their parents. I hope they will include us in the world they live in and while they may be on the top of the “new world” they remember that this “new world” is built on the foundations of the old world.

Joseph has a dream that one day he will be a leader and his brothers will bow to him. Joseph has a second dream that one day he will be a leader and his brothers and his parents will bow to him. His father tells him: “your mother has already passed away, how is it possible for her to bow to you? The dreams are foolish”. The Torah then tells us that his (Joseph’s) father guarded the words, meaning he anticipated the dreams coming true.

If Jacob thought the dreams were foolish why did he anticipate them coming true?

Jacob saw the dreams as a global dispute; is it better to live an insular spiritual life or to engage the world around us with all the risks involved and hope to transform it?

The brothers and Jacob were shepherds. Joseph was a viceroy of Egypt. Jacob looked forward to the day that those who live in the world, whose lives are filled with challenges and temptations (think Potifar’s wife and Joseph), will overcome those challenges, transforming the world into a G-dly place.

We are all people who engage the world. We all deal with the world around us. We all have challenges and temptations. Jacob sees us overcoming our challenges as greater than his service of G-d. Jacob sees our service of G-d as something to bow down to.

Do we see it that way? What can you do this week to act in a way that will make Jacob bow to you?

Have a great Shabbos and a wonderful Chanukah.

I look forward to greeting you at any or all of the Chanukah events below! 

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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