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December 9, 2011 / 13 Kislev, 5772

Va-yishlach
Obadiah 1:1-21

This week’s haftarah could be called, “What goes around, comes around.” The prophet blasts the nation of Edom for standing by as Jerusalem is captured and sacked by Bavel (Babylonia). Not only does Edom refuse to come to Judah’s aid, the Edomites participate in the looting of the city! Playing on the ancestral link between Edom and Esau, Ovadiah sees Edom’s actions as a betrayal between brothers.

This sword cuts both ways. Given Jacob’s treatment of Esau, as told in Parshat Vayetze last week, the fall of Jerusalem could be seen as ultimate payback for Jacob’s treachery to Esau. While Ovadiah’s revenge fantasy against Edom leaves me cold, I agree with Ovadiah that a real man helps his brother in his time of need.

Later in Jewish history, Edom becomes synonymous with the mighty and brutal Roman Empire; then the prediction that Edom will fall and be judged becomes a key image. An evil empire, for all its might, cannot defeat a people who answer to a higher authority. This truth steels the resolve and builds the morale of people everywhere who speak truth to power. Natan Sharansky, for example, stared down the cruel, devious KGB and emerged from the gulag with his soul intact. I will never forget his public appearance in Jerusalem on the very night he arrived, a free man In Israel. This is a man in full.

Ovadiah’s vision of a saving remnant, the “peletah” that survives the destruction and will prevail in future time speaks to me most. Our determination to withstand destruction, setback and calamity and envision a better future explains much about the vital resiliency and durability of the Jewish people and Judaism across the ages. This same resilience and courage can help an indvidual survive and thrive.

This week's Haftarah commentary was written by
Rabbi David J. Small, Emanuel Synagogue, West Hartford, Connecticut

The opinions expressed in this Unraveller are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the FJMC.


BFJMC's Shoah Yellow Candle Program

The FJMC's Shoah Yellow Candle program is all about remembrance through one simple home observance, the lighting of our candle.
It is never too early to start preparing for your club's Yom Hashoah program. Special discounts in effect for orders received before December 31. For more information, go to the www.yellowcandles.org website.

Light A Candle, Preserve A Memory.
Order online today! Quantity discounts available, call the Yellow Candle Hotline: (800) 391-7293 (after 9AM MST)


FJMC's BUILD-A-PAIR
The proven introduction to tefillin for our youth - order today!

Build a Pair

4 Out of 5 Rabbis Agree
(Hard to Believe, Isn't It?)
The Best Way to Attract Adults to Temple is Through The Children

In its 8th year, more than 8,000 children in 100 synagogues have decorated, learned about, and worn their Model Tefillin with the FJMC's Build-a-Pair program. Designed for children in 5th - 7th grades, Build-a-Pair can also be used for adults looking for a fun, easy way to get started with Tefillin!

Click Here to go to the Build-a-Pair page on the FJMC website where you will find all kinds of amazing information about this program.


WWW 12
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WORLD WIDE WRAP XII - Sunday, February 4, 2011

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