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Eve Kawitsky - Dvar Torah

TRANSFORMATION through apology.


This torah portion tells us the story of the reunion of two brothers, Esau and Jacob. It also tells us how saying sorry can totally transform someone’s life and that by showing remorse and negotiating a new balance we can resolve even the most vengeful hatred.

These brothers had been torn apart - Esau had threatened to kill Jacob and it was so serious that Jacob ran away to live in Haran for 20 yrs!

So when we look into this torah portion, Jacob is Esau’s deceiver. He is his humiliator.

Now every one of us has been hurt, humiliated, lied to and even bullied so we know how Esau felt.

What is the one thing that can erase those painful feelings that we sit with?

Saying sorry.

That’s all.

It’s so simple but seems almost impossible for most people to do.

I struggle to apologize.

It’s REALLY hard for me, anyone in my family can tell you that.

But I know that if I don’t apologize when I am wrong or when I have done something that has hurt someone, the feeling doesn’t go away.


Praying is a great route to apology and asking for forgiveness can give the strength to approach someone that you have wronged. 

Through keva (which is fixed prayer, like the ones we say before meals, at bedtime and before we read Torah) we can keep the structure of our faith and through kavana (which are our personal conversations with G_d) we can stay true to our connection to our religion.


On his journey back to Canaan, Jacob prayed that G_d would guide him. Jacob even reminded G_d that he promised to stand by Jacob. And maybe this is where the transformation really took place. Perhaps G_d saw that Jacob was desperate for forgiveness and ready to reconcile because he was ready to face the music.


After wrestling with a divine being all night, Jacob was left permanently injured and we know that he limped from that day on. Maybe Esau saw him limping when they were reunited, and he felt compassion towards him? I know that when I see someone suffering, even if they have done me wrong, I feel their pain.


More than taking over Jacobs most precious belongings, Esau just wanted that apology. Jacob begged him to take the gifts, but Esau didnt want them. He wanted the HUG.

The real stuff that dissolves the pain. We all need that tenderness.


The brothers embrace and the kissing is a bit over the top, firstly after stealing someone’s blessing and secondly the death threat! but they transform their relationship and in that moment, they go back to their family structure and afterwards have the closure to go their separate ways.


Sometimes our actions come with a price - even a peace offering can cost you but remember if you stand tall in who you truly are, and you are ready to reconcile your wrongs and accept your punishment, then you will be transformed.


This is the path to personal growth and no amount of wealth or relationships with material objects or even friendships can teach you this.

Love conquers all in the end.

Thank you, Rabbi Greg and Vanessa, for the love you have shown me over the years. This love has allowed me to transform in so many ways.


And to the congregation and guests, I send much love out to you too.


Shabbat Shalom.


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