parashas Vayeitzei highlight
by Tzvi Schnee
Did Jacob need a reminder in regard to his mission? His father, Isaac had given him a berachah (blessing), before he left Beer Sheba: “And G-d Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a congregation of peoples; and give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land of thy sojournings, which G-d gave unto Abraham” (Genesis 28:3-4, JPS 1917 Tanach).
Yet, according to the midrash, H’Shem’s benevolence may be measured by the extraordinary means through which He endeavored to arrange for Jacob a means to an encounter with G-d at hamakom (the place). Regarding the words, “he lighted upon the place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set,” the midrash relates that H’Shem caused the sun to set early that evening, so that Jacob would rest at the very place that served as a gateway to Shomayim (Heaven).
And, Jacob encountered H’Shem at hamakom, while he dreamed. And, H’Shem spoke to him in a vision, reassuring him that his descendants would inherit the land. “And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee whithersoever thou goest, and will bring you back into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of” (Genesis 28:15, JPS).
Perhaps, the confirmation of his mission, as well as the reassurance of G-d’s protection is what compelled him to stay on the derech (path), outside of the Land, where there is less kedushah (holiness), as he journeyed to Haran to find the next matriarch(s). During the ordeal that ensued, over a twenty year period of time in Haran, when he was beset with tsoros (troubles), the vision must have served as inspiration, so that he was strengthened time and time again. This may serve as a reminder for us, during the current Galus (Exile).
“In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them, and carried them all the days of old.” – Isaiah 63:9, JPS 1917 Tanach