This week’s Torah portion tells the story of Jacob’s entry into adult life. It begins with a dream that awakens him to his mission and his connection to G-d. It takes us with him as he meets and falls in love with his wife Rachel (and gets tricked into marrying his other wife Leah!). It tells us the story of all of his children being born. And it ends with him setting out on his own to establish his home.
Jacob’s maturation and emergence as an adult is a long, slow process that seems to go by in an instant. He goes from single young man to twice-married father of a nation in just a few chapters. Many college students similarly feel that their emerging adulthood is both a long, slow, extended exploration of self and going by much too quickly.
The process of learning “how to adult” is universal and timeless. From ancient days to today, people have encountered opportunities along the road to self-identification and self-actualization. As Ferris Bueller wisely said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”
Rabbi Jessica Lott is the interim director of the Hillel International Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Experience.