On Compassion, Jacob and Parshat Vayetze

Compassion. It's kind of the magical panacea that can cure pretty much anything: Fear; hatred; jealousy; anxiety; ignorance; emptiness; fear; fear and more fear.

Compassion: The genetic child of love and fear, that equidistant point between effusive love that can sometimes suffocate; and severe toughness that can harm even as it teaches restriction and caution.

In the Biblical portion of this week, we learn of the travels of the original entrepreneur Jacob as he discovers himself and starts his family by first returning to the land of his father, to understand the past before he can explore the future.

Jacob's Biblical character, as expounded in mystical Jewish teachings, is likened to the embodiment of compassion; the effusive lovingkindness of his grandfather combined with the severe restriction of his father, to create compassion and beauty; the harmonious midpoint that moves us along that road that is life.

I don't know about all the hate I'm seeing on Facebook lately, or the pure fear that's expressed from ignorance; or the legitimate fear of a world that's changing faster than we can handle; or even unbounded professions of love without the restriction required to qualify and ensure the love results in productive creation of a new world. What i do know is that when we find it hard to forgive; when we find it impossible to love; when we don't know how to stop hating or fearing or loving unboundedly even to our detriment, the magical medicine is always going to be compassion. It's the only thing that can erase the poison of a negative past, and turn it all into beauty and love.

Let's follow granddaddy Jacob on his adventures, and throw that compassion into the mix. The result? Beauty, harmony, love that is elastic and electric.

Shabbat Shalom.