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Toldot 5782 - May God Sustain Us, the Children of Jacob (An Adaptation of Isaac's Blessing)

Saturday, November 6, 2021

וְיִֽתֶּן־לְךָ֙ הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים מִטַּל֙ הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וּמִשְׁמַנֵּ֖י הָאָ֑רֶץ וְרֹ֥ב דָּגָ֖ן וְתִירֹֽשׁ׃

May God give you from the dew of the heavens and the fats of the earth and new abundance of grain and wine (Genesis 27:28).

May God sustain us, our loved ones, and our neighbors with enough food and resources to keep us healthy, content, and ready for whatever we encounter in this life.

יַֽעַבְד֣וּךָ עַמִּ֗ים (וישתחו) [וְיִֽשְׁתַּחֲו֤וּ] לְךָ֙ לְאֻמִּ֔ים הֱוֵ֤ה גְבִיר֙ לְאַחֶ֔יךָ וְיִשְׁתַּחֲו֥וּ לְךָ֖ בְּנֵ֣י אִמֶּ֑ךָ אֹרְרֶ֣יךָ אָר֔וּר וּֽמְבָרְכֶ֖יךָ בָּרֽוּךְ׃

Let peoples serve you and nations bow to you. Be master over your brother, and let your mother’s sons bow to you. Cursed be those who curse you; blessed be those who bless you (27:29)

May we maintain our personal freedom and independence, and at the same time, may we find loved ones and communities who are willing to give their all to support us in our times of need. May those who push us to be and do our best experience all the blessings you, God, can offer. May we be able to discern heartfelt praise from deception, constructive criticism from malice. May we learn from the praise and criticism we receive, and may we each make enough of a difference to garner those passionate opinions about our deeds.

וְאֵ֤ל שַׁדַּי֙ יְבָרֵ֣ךְ אֹֽתְךָ֔ וְיַפְרְךָ֖ וְיַרְבֶּ֑ךָ וְהָיִ֖יתָ לִקְהַ֥ל עַמִּֽים׃

May El Shaddai - the God who is enough - bless you and make you fertile and numerous, so that you will become a congregation of nations (28:3).

May we find gratitude in every moment of life we possibly can - may we know when this, just this, is enough. When this is not enough, may we embrace the challenge and fight for what we need. 

May our traditions and values be passed on for generations, from parent to child, from teacher to student, from rabbi to congregation. May our children find this Judaism so meaningful, so exciting, and so inviting that they enthusiastically pass it down to their children, in turn. 

May this congregation continue to grow and change, preserving the best parts of who we are - our passion for learning, our commitment to each other, and our respect for God and Torah - with each passing year.

וְיִֽתֶּן־לְךָ֙ אֶת־בִּרְכַּ֣ת אַבְרָהָ֔ם לְךָ֖ וּלְזַרְעֲךָ֣ אִתָּ֑ךְ לְרִשְׁתְּךָ֙ אֶת־אֶ֣רֶץ מְגֻרֶ֔יךָ אֲשֶׁר־נָתַ֥ן אֱלֹהִ֖ים לְאַבְרָהָֽם׃

May God grant the blessing of Abraham to you and your offspring, that you may possess the land where you are sojourning, which God assigned to Abraham (28:4).

May we maintain that power of Abraham to bless - to name when something or someone is good for the Jewish people and for our world. May we take on that power of Abraham to discern and create justice and righteousness - tzedek u’mishpat. May we take the stories of our ancestors, from Adam to Moses, from Henrietta Szold to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, into our every-day lives, incorporating the lessons they learned and taught into each and every decision we make.

May we experience safety in this land and in the land of Israel, for ourselves and for the countless generations to be born long after we are gone. 

Ken y’hi ratzon - May it be your will. V’nomar - Amen.

Thu, May 30 2024 22 Iyyar 5784