Toldot

Rebecca’s pregnancy is painful and turbulent. Feeling the discord in her womb, she cries out “If so, why am I?” This is one of the most poignant prayers I know, an existential howl against the world, a question that resonates throughout the generations, as yet unanswered. “And she went to demand God.” Rebecca’s response to her suffering is to demand meaning. If she is to live, it will not be mere survival, but a life that recognises and responds to holiness, a life that puts the past and present in relation to the future. Jewish response to struggle, to internal and social suffering, has always been a defiant “bechol zot” – be that as it may, despite everything, we continue forwards.

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[Inspired by: Der Rufer by Gerhard Marcks; Genesis 25; and Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.]

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