Thursday, 21 Dec 2017

Written by Etienne Kerber

« GOD called to Israel in a vision by night »


It had been since he became Israel

that Jacob did not speak to God

and God comes back to him like

someone who is forgotten:

« I am God, the God of your father »

for all those years they were apart…


Maybe after all that happened to Jacob

Jacob did not want to

speak to God, anymore.


I imagine the hot days,

those hot days of the desert

when silence filled Jacob’s ears

and all he heard was his own reflections


The burden of a lost wife,

and the burden of a lost son,

certainly closed Jacob’s heart

certainly closed Jacob’s doors

I picture him, in his daily routines

surrounded by, his consequent family.

He could not have been unhappy

but how could he not help feeling sad ?


What was Jacob thinking ?

For all those days and all those nights ?

He, who used to dream

he, who used to fight, Until the sun rising.

Jacob was a strong man

he was stronger than his fears

but his sadness might have been stronger

and then again… I wonder….


Why didn’t God tell him

that his son was alive ?

Why did God remain silent ?

How dared He after all Jacob had done for Him ?

He even changed his name,

Jacob even changed his name !

But God remained silent.


Some might say, « whatever God put on your way, it is on your way because you can get through it »

But why another challenge for the one who had already suffered ?

Therefore I keep wondering…

did God remain silent because

He was sorry life is sometimes unjust ?

Did God remain silent because…

because God… was ashamed ?


Silence, silence, silence…

silence is also the way

of all the ones who never speak to God

whether it is by choice, deduction

or whether it is by consequence

or whether it is because

they believe God doesn’t exist

it is hard understanding

something never experienced.


Because I, myself, I do it… I do it all the time

I speak to Him, as much as I speak to all the ones that surround me

whether they want it or not

at least when I speak to God He doesn’t let me know

whether I should keep going… or not…


Therefore I ask myself very often

what happens for those who remain silent…

what happens to that dimension ?

Does it remain unexplored ?

Are its ways filled with dust ?


Or maybe is it just travelling differently ?…


Can we imagine that, walking through a magnificent park,

filled with perfumed flowers

being aware of what is going on

can be considered a prayer ?

Can we imagine that, sharing a moment with your dearest friends

while eating a generous dinner,

and being conscious about this privilege

can be considered a prayer ?

It can be hard to conceive, for someone who speaks to God

but then again…

maybe this was the way God and Jacob kept talking ?


Isn’t all our theology based on the immateriality concept ?

We are not allowed to say His name,

neither are we allowed to picture Him

the only thing we should understand is that we cannot understand

therefore sometimes I wonder

if believing in God with all my soul and heart and strength

is also admitting…

is also admitting…

that God doesn’t exist.

Yes is it possible that trusting in the existence of God, to a certain point also consists, in admitting that God, exists and doesn’t exist.


And then I can try being silent

and understand the Other

that’s when something happens

something I cannot understand

but I know it is Greater

Greater that myself

Greater than the Universe


And it makes me want to say




In silence


Shabbat Shalom


Etienne Kerber LBC Rabbinic student

The views expressed in this D’var Torah do not necessarily reflect the position of Leo Baeck College.