They say a week is a long time in politics, nowadays it is down to a few hours!
Who knows, between the time I write this and the time you read this, we could have some more cabinet resignations, a vote of no confidence or some other seismic political event.
Watching Theresa May yesterday deal with hours of questions on her feet in Parliament, all I could think was: she really needs some sleep!
Yaacov also had a tough few days, he has had to leave home with his brother sworn to murder him and his future is unknown. His solution? (or more accurately Hashem’s plan) To go to sleep. (According to Rashi this happened after his 14 years in the Yeshiva of Shem and Ever.)
His dream of the ladder and the angels is well known.
However, it is after the dream, his sleep, and that I wish to focus on.
That sleep gave Yaacov a vision, boundless energy, an ability to seize the moment. According to Rashi ‘his heart uplifted him and he became light on his feet’ (29:1).
This new Yaacov eventually becomes Yisrael and his vision creates a nation that to this day is called by his name.
So, what can our beleaguered Prime Minister learn from this? (apart from the need to get some sleep!)
The problem with the last 24 hours is she has tried to keep everyone happy and in the end, no one is. As Tony Blair, a remainer said: ‘There is no point to Brexit unless we do what those most agitating for it think is true Brexit. Otherwise who are we pleasing? Not us, and not them.’
We have a similar dilemma when it comes to a vision for the Jewish people.
Keeping the Torah is not easy, tough decisions need to be made, sacrifices are required, but the spiritual rewards are immense.
Over the centuries in an attempt to keep Jews engaged certain groups have relaxed or changed the rules to make it ‘easier’ ‘more ‘palatable’ yet the results generally have been very poor.
Living a Torah life is visionary an aspirational drawing on all those experiences throughout the millennia from Avraham and Sara onwards. Yaacov is known as the Av who took the Chesed of his grandfather and Gevurah of his father and forged them into his own Tifferet which created the nation of Israel.
We have been shown time and time again when we depart from that vision we lose, whether it eventually becomes a different religion or a break from the mesorah of Judaism we become poorer for it and the spiritual exodus increases.
So, will Brexit happen? I have no idea!
However, in terms of Judaism, as long as we stay loyal to the vision of Yaacov, Moshe, Devorah, David, Eliyahu, Yishayahu, Esther, Ezra, Rabbi Akiva, Rava, Rabbi Yehudah, Rav Hai Gaon, Rashi, Rambam, Vilna Gaon, Rav Hirsch, Rav Kook and Rav Soloveitchik, we will be fine.
They and thousands like them have built a phenomenal ladder of tradition that is connected firmly to the past but leads us onwards and upwards to the future, and to our eventual redemption.
Yaacov’s ladder of Jewish history that he dreamed about that fateful night in Yerushalayim has been played out by the heroes of our people over the last 3000 years and we realise that we are blessed to be connected to that dream, to his and ultimately Hashem’s vision.
A week may be a long time in politics, but all it takes is a Divine dream and it can all change in one night!
So, Theresa better pray and get some sleep!
Rabbi Andrew Shaw
NB: If we are talking about sacrifice and making tough decisions, we need look no further than the incredible members of AJEX who fought for our freedoms all those years ago.
This coming Sunday 18th November 2018 sees the 84th Annual AJEX Remembrance Ceremony & Parade in Whitehall where we honour the memory of fallen Jewish service men and women in all conflicts and most poignantly is 100 years since the Armistice marking the end of the First World War.
I will be going with my family to this important event to remember the heroes of the past, to remind myself and my children the need to thank those who in many cases made the ultimate sacrifice.