Shabbat Parashat VaYigash Shepherds at Heart

Dear Friends,

Have you ever wondered why our ancestors were shepherds?  Have you ever wondered why Moses was a shepherd?  Why Rachel was tending the flocks of her father when Jacob first saw her?  Why, in our weekly Torah portion, Joseph instructs his newly re-united family to present themselves to Pharaoh in Egypt, as shepherds?

Some thoughts on this question….Sheep are very vulnerable.  Shepherding requires awareness of the responsibilities for the life of the sheep!  Shepherding also allows us to appreciate nature.  Shepherding teaches us patience.  And…Shepherding affords us time to relax and to think!

As we learn to be responsible for lives of sheep, we also learn to take responsibility for the lives of vulnerable human beings.  We learn to enjoy the beauty of creation while also appreciating the potential threats that surround us and our sheep.  And…we learn that we need to take time for ourselves and allow our minds to wander.  We learn that we need to allow creativity to unfold from within our very souls.

I wonder….To what degree are we still shepherds, or at least shepherds at heart?

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Gilah Dror