In this week's Parsha, Parshat Vayishlach, Jacob returns to the holy land after 20 years of being away. He sends a message to his brother, Esau, in hopes that they will meet and reconcile. At first, this message is met with hostility from Esau. They eventually meet back up again, but have to part ways once more to return to their homes. Later in the Parsha, there is an account of Esau’s wives, children, and grandchildren. The Parsha concludes with the establishment of the Edomite kingdom and the list of the eight kings who ruled Edom, the land of Esau’s descendants. This cycle of estrangement between family or friends and subsequent separation is unfortunately all too familiar to us these days.
Today, the Coronavirus pandemic has put distance between us and those we care about. Friends that we have made at summer programs have been out of physical reach for months. Many of us are even unable to be near our families. Certainly, opportunities to create new in-person bonds with folks from all across the globe have been made impossible. This physical distance can often cause strain on personal relationships. It can be hard to stay in touch or on good terms with a friend or family member when you are so far apart. Just like Esau and Jacob, when distance is put between us and our brothers and sisters, we sometimes struggle with staying connected. In their case, distance caused a brotherly relationship to turn into a near-war. In ours, it means calling a BBYO friend once a month instead of seeing them once a day.
But both of our long-distance stories are far from over. When Jacob returned home to Esau, they embraced with love. After being apart for so long, at the end of the day what truly mattered was their brotherhood. It didn’t matter how long it had been since they had seen each other, they were still brothers and treated each other as such. As the pandemic continues, we see our BBYO brotherhood and sisterhood begin to strengthen again. Regions from all across the globe are finding meaning and connection with virtual and safe in-person programming. And just like Jacob and Esau, hopefully soon we will be able to meet in person as well and embrace with our fellow Alephs and BBGs.
NRE NoVA Council Sh’lichim, Haylee Feist and Ben Rosenthal
Read commentary on this week's Parsha from BBYO teens around the world.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
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