Monday, November 28, 2011

Jacob’s Journey to Find Himself

Parshat Va’Yetzeh
Bereshit 28:10 – 32:3
7 Kislev 5772 / December 2-3, 2011

Jacob’s Journey to Find Himself
by David Martin, MH Mexico City

I will approach Parasha Vayetze in a different way, taking two guidelines from the first Pasuk (verse) of the Parasha.

(1) If we look carefully into the text at pasuk 28:13 we will see that G-d literally says to Jacob: "I am HaShem G-d of Abraham, your father, and G-d of Isaac." What could this mean? Isaac was the father of Jacob, not Abraham! Could that mean that Abraham’s relationship with G-d had a certain resemblance to Jacob’s? Or, that in some higher level sense, Abraham was the father of Jacob?

(2) In verse 28:10 the Torah states "...and Jacob stopped on the road because the sun had already set (down) and he slept there...." The pasuk doesn't say where he slept.... all that it says is that he "went out from Be’er Sheva and walked to Jaran". Why does the Torah repeat that he "left Be’er Sheva?" We already know from the previous week that he was there and that his father told him to go to Jaran. If we acknowledge that every word in Torah is used for a specific purpose.... then the pasuk gets very repetitive. So let’s pretend for a minute that the place where he slept and rested is not a physical one, rather a state of mind.

One of my favorite Torah Portions is Lech Lecha. It is an earlier portion about Abraham beginning his own journey away from his birth family to follow the word of G-d. If we translate literally that phrase means "Go for yourself." We could say that the very first thing that G-d asks Abraham is that he has to find himself before G-d could give him any kind of illumination or knowledge... that was the main core of wisdom: find yourself.

The main guidelines or "scripts" from the lives of Abraham and Jacob are similar... both grew up in places that were hostile to their form of spirituality and both of them had to leave their home environments. So maybe what the Torah says when it calls Abraham the father of Jacob is: that he had some connection in the way that G-d was revealed to both of them.

I don’t know for sure, but maybe the place where Jacob “stopped and slept” was more of a state of mind where he was able receive Ruach ha’Kodesh (prophetic spirit). When he left Be’er Sheva, he left his old bad habits and his old rotten environment beyond and at that moment, he finally was able to rest and dream of G-d. He had to leave from Beer Sheeva to Jaran, and also, like Abraham, he had to Lech Lecha.


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