Together We Will Prevail " - Parshat Toldot Ayala Deckel - 2023 - 5784"
בינה בפייסבוק בינה באינסטגרם צרו קשר עם בינה במייל

Together We Will Prevail ” – Parshat Toldot Ayala Deckel – 2023 – 5784″

” Together We Will Prevail “

“Together we will prevail – Beyachad nenatzeach – ביחד ננצח” – this has become a sort of nationwide slogan in Israel in this time of war. It is seen on billboards, on bumper stickers, on public buses, and practically every advertisement. There is something so beautiful and powerful in the Israeli togetherness in times of crisis, in the ability to embrace and to support one another. And there is something uniquely moving about Israeli togetherness now. It is a togetherness born out of a terrible feeling of loneliness. A togetherness born out of deep struggle between and among different sectors in Israeli society in the past year, a togetherness born out of difficulty.

I think that one of the big questions hovering over us in this war is the question of togetherness. What exactly does this togetherness look like? Is it of one mind or made up of many different opinions? And what does a togetherness that has the power to prevail truly look like?

Our weekly Torah portion, Parashat Toldot, presents a painful model of togetherness.

While she is still pregnant, Rebecca learns that she has more than one child in her womb, and God explains to her – “Two nations are in your womb / Two separate peoples shall issue from your body; / One people shall be mightier than the other, / And the older shall serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23, NJPS Translation).

Rebecca has twins. Two sons who are born of one womb and already at the moment of birth it is described to us how Jacob grabs onto Esau’s leg, how the friction between them and perhaps also the competition, started even in the womb.

I have little brothers who are triplets, three children from one womb. When they were children I remember one of them explaining to me, as only a child born as part of a group can explain, how important it is to maintain independence within a trio. At a very young age he told me how each of them needed to feel different and special.

My mother listened to them. And on every birthday they would get the best cakes. For each child a cake that was special and different.

I prefer to write about my mother and not about Rebecca’s motherhood. Because, in my eyes, Rebecca and Isaac make a terrible mistake. Instead of seeing the uniqueness of each child and letting them grow side by side, they make them compete with each other.

Isaac loves Esau. Rebecca loves Jacob. Each of them pushes their favorite son forward, until the point comes when Rebecca makes Jacob lie to his father, and disguise himself as his brother to steal his blessing.

Isaac and Rebecca are wrong in their interpretation of the words – “together we will prevail”. ‘Together’ doesn’t mean that we must be exactly the same. This is not a togetherness with which one prevails. The real “together we will prevail” is the togetherness of difference. Of those who recognize and give space to the differences among them and yet still are able to come together for common goals. 

Even in this time, each and every one of us has a role in this war. Precisely because of the differences between us. There are those who have been called up for reserve duty, serving in various roles from the homefront to the frontlines. There are those who need to support and strengthen the human spirit and their role is in education, culture, economy and elsewhere. There are those whose role it is to volunteer in agriculture and fill the current labor shortage, as the participants of BINA’s Mechina Gap Year did this week. There are those whose job it is to call out and inspire us to action.

There is room for both tears and laughter, for pain and for joy. Each and every one of us has to contribute our part. And because of this, through the connection between our varied and diverse parts, will we be able to truly prevail. 

And no success is complete without completing all the pieces of the puzzle. Without the return of the hostages who are now in Gaza, our hearts will not be whole

We don’t have to choose one at the expense of the other as Isaac and Rebecca mistakenly believed. We need to give space to each and every one, in their uniqueness and in their difference. This is our togetherness with which we can prevail.

Ayala Deckel is the Head of the BINA Secular Yeshiva.

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