Our guest this week is Rabbi Pam Frydman. Rabbi Frydman was the spiritual leader and founder of Or Shalom Jewish Community in San Francisco and also served as Interim Rabbi of Congregation P’nai Tikvah in Las Vegas. She is a leader in the Jewish Renewal Movement and was the first woman to serve as president of OHALAH, the Renewal clergy association. She chairs Ruach Hiddush, Rabbis and Cantors for Religious Freedom and Equality in Israel. She also coordinates the Beyond Genocide Campaign, which earned a 2016 Global Citizen Award from United Nations Association, East Bay Chapter for raising consciousness about Yezidis, an ancient monotheistic people facing genocide at the hands of ISIS. She is the author of Calling on God, Sacred Jewish Teachings for Seekers of All Faiths. She is also a Holocaust researcher and is writing a book on the subject.
This week’s Torah portion — Parashat Vayishlach (Genesis 32:3-36:43) — features Jacob’s meeting with Esau, his wrestling with an angel, the defiling of Dinah, the death of Isaac and Rachel, and the renaming of Jacob. Our talk focuses, among other things, on the interesting moral ambiguities the stories of Jacob’s relationship with Esau and the rape of Dina.
Our past discussions of Vayishlach:
Rabbi Robin Nafshi on the turmoil behind the Jacob and Esau reconciliation scene
Rabbi Susan Leider on the meaning behind Jacob’s reconciliation with Esau
Reb Mimi Feigelson on the idea of Jacob as Esau’s twin and how it impacts Jacob’s life
Rabbi Gideon Sylvester on Rashi’s description of Jacob’s preparation for his meeting with Esau