Getting Lost in the Stories We Spin

Pafamily reconciliationrashat Vayeishev Sibling Rivalry

Genesis – it’s all about family dynamics

Links and rifts make their way through the generations

Children struggle or thrive – because of or in spite of …

Everyone competes for love

“Israel loved Joseph more than all of his sons…” (Genesis 37:3).

Perhaps Ecclesiastes is right that “there is nothing new under the sun (1:9)

We become lost in the stories we spin

And, though they do not serve us well,

They follow us into our adult lives.

Departing this world, our parents bequeath unfinished “family business”

Leaving us to…

Reconcile with our siblings

Repair rifts

Build or rebuild trust

Make peace.

In truth, this is avodat ha-kodesh –sacred family work.

“[Joseph’s] brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers so they hated him…”

A hate so deep that “they could not speak with him peacefully” (37:3-4).

Peace is built out of the rubble of past deeds

Not so dissimilar to Jacob and Esau’s story

Which began with guilt and despair

And ended with a “good enough” peace.

Paradigms for reconciliation

Reveal that even estranged siblings can live in relationship to one another.

Facing a choice point –

Choosing to forgive yourself and the other

Infuse love into the heart of the pain

Imperfect peace ends exile

Invites exploration

Discovering spiritual, emotional and ethical resources

Fill the cracks of what is broken,

Build something – anything – from the remains.

Joseph’s dreams caused trouble with his brothers

And he desire to forgive saved his family


Choosing to travel toward a beacon of possibility

Frees us to live our lives with forgiveness, hope and love

Bivracha  – Sending blessings for peace,                                                           Reb Nina, Community Rabbi

19 Kislev 5776/1 Decembre 2015





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