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Friday, November 19, 2010

Parshat Vayishlakh: Brothers Reunite

This week's parashah is Vayishlakh (Bereshit/Genesis 32:4-36:43).  In last week's parashah Jacob struggled through the night with the stranger/man/angel and, just as the sun was about to rise, he exacted a blessing and also had his name changed from Ya'akov/Jacob, from the Hebrew for "heel,"to Yisrael/Israel (though he will be referred to by both names in the remaining chapters of Genesis), the one who struggled with beings Divine and human.  Though, not before the stranger pulls his hip out of it's socket, leaving Jacob injured and limping. See last week's commentary for a more detailed description.

As Jacob struggled with the stranger, we also know that his twin brother Esau was preparing to meet him later that day.  However, the Torah tells us nothing about what might have been going through his mind as he prepares to meet the brother who took both the blessing and the birthright that had belonged to him as the first born child.

Last week I posted a three part poem The Blessings and Curses of Brothers as a commentary based on the last two parshiot/portions within which the Jacob-Esau narrative unfolded. This week's commentary is the final portion of that poem that begins as the sun is rising on the new day after Jacob's wrestling match.

Shabbat Shalom,


The Blessings and Curses of Brothers


the two brothers face the sunrise
preparing to face each other
      one wrenched from the past
feels excruciating pain
            wrestled into the present
a new man    yet not
the heal grabber also the struggler
hasn't that always been the case
he is both and neither

the two brothers face the sunrise
     sadness overwhelming the other
releasing dreams of a future never to be
saved from the demons
of a past he must surrender
if he is to enter
along with his brother
 the present
   the moment
    the potential
for wholeness    healing
   holiness      reconciliation
with self and other

the sun reaches its zenith
shadows now hidden
within bodies
only light can be seen
 pure  healing  holy

at that moment
        in this moment
brothers meet each other
looking into mirror eyes
  each        other
 father      mother
    fear     hope

     seeing    seizing
the moment      each other
all that is within them
releasing what was
what could have been
what will never be
in this place    this moment
       within them
        all is right
     all is what it is
in the light of the divine
they both see the truth
uncluttered unclouded by
parents  past  hatred  jealousy  dreams

blessing and birthright
no longer matter
what matters is them
what matters is now
the union of two wholes
not halves
     tears flowing
time passes
      time stands still
they cannot let go
yet they must
      release each other
who is no longer other
the time has come
to take up the journey anew
alone together 
into the unknown
each going his own way

each leaves
realizing in that moment
they have finally received
the true blessing and birthright
freedom  gratitude    forgiveness 
    now guiding each life

the journey
has not been
will not be 
should not be

struggle has brought these two
to the place they longed for

   unknown to both of them
where they are now
in the present moment
each carrying with them
the dreams and fears of their parents
the source of their strife
finally banished      healed
so they can become one
true brothers
at last

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