Yaakov implores G-d to protect him from “the hand of my brother, the hand of Esau” a double expression and also a seemingly unnecessary description – but Yaakov is fully aware of the dangers facing his children and theirs until the end of time – the hand of Esau; hatred, bloodshed, Crusades, Inquisitions, Nazis… and the hand of my brother – assimilation, intermarriage, neglect, indifference, apathy – the brotherly kiss of death. He is also aware that the latter can be more menacing, erosive.

But there is also the antidote – more than the Jews have kept the Shabbat, “the portion of Yaakov”, Shabbat has kept the Jews. Let us use the opportunity of a day of spiritual striving to reconnect with our past

 – a commemoration to the exodus from Egypt, remind ourselves and inspire in our children what it means to be a Jew.

Wishing you and yours a Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Shimshon Silkin

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