Our special guest today is Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, Senior Rabbi of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York City. Prior to his arrival at Stephen Wise, Rabbi Hirsch served for twelve years as Executive Director of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA), the Israel arm of the North American Reform movement. Rabbi Hirsch has served on numerous boards of national and international bodies, including the Jewish Agency for Israel, World Zionist Organization, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis. He is currently an officer of the New York Board of Rabbis and is a member of the Partnership of Faith, an interfaith body of New York religious leaders. Rabbi Hirsch received his ordination at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City and he also has an LL.B Honors (Law Degree) from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
This week's Torah portion- Parashat Vayetze (Genesis 28:10-32:2)- features the story of Jacob's dream and Jacob's ladder, Jacob's first encounter with Rachel at the well, and his marriage with her and with her sister Leah after being cheated by their father Laban. Our discussion focuses, among other things, on the way in which Jacob's unique kind of greatness manages to manifest itself despite his many, visible flaws.