From the Head of Jewish Life
The lying truth
In big letters on a local church door one is greeted by the words: “Come as you are, you are always welcome”.
We might wonder, “come as you are”? Well, who else could I be coming as?
Yet, our patriarch Ya’akov/Jacob, in this week’s parashah, does not come as he is.
To steal the first right of inheritance from his brother, Ya’akov deceives his father and comes as his brother Eisav, to get the blessing of the first born from him.
Putting goat skins on his hands, Ya’akov comes as his hairier brother, Eisav, before his blind father Yitschak. But his father senses something is amiss and says: “The voice is the voice of Ya’akov, but the hands are those of Eisav”. Yet, he blesses Ya’akov.
The Rabbis have great difficulty with this: Being dishonest and deceiving, not coming as you are, makes you a winner!? Is this the message of the Torah?
The Rabbis offer the following insight and teaching. Jacob did come as he is. He was a trickster and deceiver and did not seek to trick anyone into thinking he was not. Ya’akov was honest in being dishonest.
Ya’akov was not rewarded for his trickery and deception. In the very next parashah, his father-in-law deceives him, then his wife deceives him, then his children deceive him.
The Bible, throughout, tells us no one is perfect – not our patriarchs nor our matriarchs, not Moshe, not even God. Yet, no one is beyond redemption, beyond positive change-if you come as you are. Only in coming as you are, good or bad, can you become who you might be.
Only in seeing his son as who he was, a deceiver, could Yitschak bless and help him grow into whom he might be.
So, yes, come as you are, for you are always welcome for whom you are and for whom you might be.
תתן אמת ליעקב – Grant truth to Ya’akov