Our guest this week is Rabbi Mark Elber of the Temple Beth El community in Fall River, Massachusetts. Rabbi Elber was ordained by ALEPH: The Alliance for Jewish Renewal in 2012. A fellow of Rabbis Without Borders and the author of The Everything Kabbalah Book, he is a certified teacher of Jewish meditation through Chochmat HaLev in Berkeley, California, a prize-winning poet (e.g. Beat Museum Poet of the Year, 2007), translator of Israeli rock songs (one of which appeared on MTV Europe), and a published songwriter having fronted his own bands in the downtown Manhattan music scene in the early 1980’s. Rabbi Elber did his graduate studies in Kabbalah at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the University of Pennsylvania from which he also holds a B.A. in Philosophy.
This week’s Torah portion — Parashat Vayetze (Genesis 28:10-32:2) — features the story of Jacob’s dream and Jacob’s ladder, Jacob’s first encounter with Rachel at the well, and his marriage with her and with her sister Leah after being cheated by their father Laban. Our discussion focuses on Jacob’s ladder and Jacob’s vision.
Our past discussions of Parashat Vayetzeh:
Rabbi Jay Kornsgold on the role of angels in the parasha
Rabbi Moshe Davis on Jacob as a moral example
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch on Jacob’s unique form of greatness and how it manifests itself
Rabbi Joshua Hoffman on Jacob as an imperfect hero