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    Many who are one – Vayyetzei

    Why is there a difference between Gen. 28:11, which says Jacob made a pillow out of “some of the stones of the place” (plural) and Gen. 28:18, which says “he took the stone” (singular)?

    Rashi, utilising the Midrash, says that the stones began quarrelling for the right to have Jacob’s head rest on them, and God had to stop the quarrel by merging all the stones into one stone.

    In contemporary Jewish life, we need a similar lesson to be forced upon us by the Almighty.

    Every type of Jew believes that they are more crucial to the community – the machers argue that without them everything would grind to a halt, the community professionals think nothing would happen unless they kept the wheels of communal life oiled, the rabbis are certain that it is they who are indispensable, synagogal and organisational backbench members know that without them there simply would not be a community.

    Unlike Jacob’s stones, they do not usually indulge in open quarrelling, but they waste valuable time and energy on self-promotion.

    None of this gives the Almighty any great nachas, so He must surely want to make them stand together as part of one community.

    Not only are they all needed, but they have to learn to find strength in unity.

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