In the Torah portion Vayishlach, Jacob is faced yet again with deception in the hours of darkness.
Twenty years ago, as a fourth-year rabbinic student, I gave my senior sermon on Parashat Vayishlach. The sermon focused on the rape of Dinah and the prevalence of violence against women in modern times. As I had the opportunity to reflect on this parsha again, I started to consider what has changed since 2001 and what has stayed the same.
The first word for fear is also the word for awe. As we gaze upon the mystery of the heavens, the boundary between awe and fear is ever so slight. We are awe struck by the vast unknown of God, and we are aware of our own smallness. We are afraid of our vulnerability at the same time we are in awe of the grandeur and the blessings that abound.