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Torah Study The danger of inaction

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Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 10:00 am

Vayeshev, Genesis 37:1-40:23

In this week’s Torah portion, things fall apart for Father Jacob (also known as Israel). It begins with the following words: “Vayeshev Yaakov B’Eretz Megurai Aviv B’Eretz Cna’an” – “And Jacob settled (literally: “sat”) in the land where his father was a stranger, in the Land of Canaan.” The rabbis observe that it was precisely because Jacob “settled down”and ceased to be active that he was beset by tragedy and all sorts of challenges. It is in this portion that his favorite son Joseph, born of his beloved Rachel, was sold into slavery by his brothers who went on to report that he had been devoured by wild beasts. They brought Joseph’s blood-soaked coat of many colors as proof of his demise. As a result, some rabbis opine that one must never relax and rest on one’s laurels, for letting down one’s guard only invites tragedy. They believed that we must always be vigilant, for failing to do so invites misfortune.

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