Go with God: Yaakov and Trump in Transition

In Torah portion two weeks ago, Yaakov steals the blessing and the birthright from his brother Esav. In the beginning of VaYetzeh, last week’s portion, Yaakov is running to his uncle’s house to evade his brother’s wrath. The portion start off:

Yaakov left Beer-sheba, and set out for Haran. ( Genesis  28:10)

On this language VaYetzeh, left, Rashi writes:

It need have written simply “And Yaakov went to Haran’’; why then does it mention his departure from Beersheba? But it intends to tell us that the departure of a righteous person from his city makes an impression. As long as a righteous man is in his city he is its glory and splendor and beauty; when he leaves it, there depart also its glory, its splendor and its beauty. This, too, is the meaning of  “And she went forth out of the place”(Ruth 1:7), stated in reference to Naomi and Ruth (Genesis Rabbah 68:6).

I was thinking about Yaakov last week in the context of our lingering democratic process. Like the young Yaakov, Trump is trickster who is seeking to evade consequences of his actions.

The differences between the person of Yaakov and Trump are many, but there are two of note. The first is that Yaakov spends this life learning to repair the misdeeds of his youth. Trump’s character flaws cannot be chalked up to the tempestuous ways of youth.

Another difference is how how Trump did in his home town. In Manhattan Trump lost 14.5% to Biden’s 84.5%. Trump also lost his city of Washington,D.C 5.2% to Biden’s 92.6%. It does not seem that Manhattan or D.C. will be missing the glory, splendor, or beauty of Trump when he goes to Mara Lago.

When we think about the message of VaYetzeh we should be thrilled if Trump leaves and there is a transition of power. He is no righteous person, but I still want to offer him a blessing from my Oma for his leaving She always used to say, ” Gehe mit Gott, aber geh! – Go with God, but please do go”.


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