Breishit (Genesis)The Book of Genesis is concerned with beginnings: the creation of the world and the origin of humanity. It quickly shifts its focus from universal history to the history of the Jewish people beginning in chapter 12, with the introduction of Abraham, the first Jew. The remainder of the book focuses on the lives of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel and Leah, and Joseph. The book ends with the entire family of Jacob descending into Egypt. There are fifty chapters, divided into twelve parashiyot. The parashiyot in Breishit are: Breishit, Noah, Lech Lecha, VaYera, Chaye Sarah, Toldot, VaYetze, VaYishlach, VaYeshev, Miketz, VaYigash and VaYechi.


VaYishlach : What goes around, comes around- until we seek forgiveness.

The saga of Jacob continues in this week's parasha. It begins with Jacob sending messengers ahead to greet his brother Esau, who swore to kill Jacob when they last parted some twenty years before. Jacob is informed that Esau has a large assembly of men coming toward Jacob, seemingly prepared for battle. Jacob responds with a three pronged strategy in preparation for the confrontation: Prayer, Diplomacy and War. But the night before he confronts his brother, Jacob spends the night wrestling with the angel and, in the end, has his name changed by God to Israel. The next morning, much to his surprise, the encounter with Esau goes peacefully, and again they part. Esau returns to Seir and Jacob settles outside of the city of Shechem. There, Jacob's daughter Dinah is raped by a prince of the town, and, in retaliation, Jacob's sons go on a violent rampage, killing the entire male population of Shechem. At the end of the portion, both Rachel and Isaac die and are buried. The parshah ends with a review of all Isaac's descendants.

Copyright: Kolel, The Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish Learning.

These summaries and introductions are used with permission of Kolel: The Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish Learning in Toronto, Canada. Kolel is a dynamic, pluralistic, egalitarian institution where men and women engage in Jewish learning which values both traditional and liberal interpretations. Kolel is a gateway into a richer expression of Judaism for each individual, wherever their journey of Jewish discovery may take them.

exact frame size is approximate because we frame to order.