Published Date: December 09, 2019
This week’s music: Yehudah Katz Vhamagal “All Together”
Yaakov Avinu, our father Jacob, is running away from the physical threat of his brother Esav, who wants Yaakov killed. Although Yaakov is going, by his father Yitzchak’s request, to the home of his mother Rebecca to find a wife, he approaches the entire mission with trepidation. His fear is not simply physical; he seems more concerned with his spiritual well-being. The Netivot Shalom asks, how can he deal with heading to a land outside of his home in Eretz Yisrael where he is aware that the land is filled with spiritual pollution. How can he, a simple tent dwelling man, “ish tam yoshev ohalim,” (Bereshit 25.27) who spent most of his adult life studying God’s holy words, head out to potentially unprotected territory as he ventures out to spiritual fields unknown.
He decides that his only solution is to go to “the place,” “vayifga bamakom,” (Bereshit 28.11) where he knows God’s presence is most powerful. After all, this “place” Har Hamoriah, is the location where his grandfather Avraham Avinu took his father Yitzchak to be brought up as a sacrifice. This is “the place” where the Beit Hamikdash will be built in the future. This is Hashem’s dwelling place, “v’asu li mikdash v’shachanti betocham, make for me a place and I will dwell there (Shmot 25.8)
This “place” is then where Yaakov puts his head down on the rocks and has his famous dream, where he sees a ladder whose feet are on the ground and whose head reaches the heavens and the angels of God are going up and down (Bereshit 28.12). Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev explains that these angels were reporting to God in heaven that this young man was filled with merits. Each time they saw his great light they went up to report on his greatness, prompting Hashem to send down further “shefa,” holy influence to benefit his life. Yaakov sees this in his dream and recognizes that this is all he wants. He needs to be on the level where all of his decisions only are the “ratzon,” the will of Hashem. He wants to live beyond choice. However, when he awakes he realizes that although only living beyond choice is not the reality in this world, he would be journeying into “chutz la’aretz” with the great spiritual protection of Hashem. He is carrying with him a great force of light and life. He says to Hashem, “please be with me and protect and thus I will be assured to return home in Peace” (Bereshit 28.20-21).
Now he is entering the area in “Charan” where is he to meet his soul mate. Upon seeing Rachel at first site, he uses his inner strength to remove yet another rock, this one from the well of water, where he proceeds to water the sheep of Lavan, his mother’s brother. “Vayashk et tzoan Lavan achi emo,” he waters the sheep of Lavan (Bereshit 29.10). He gives them sustenance and life. Then in the very next verse, the same Hebrew letters used to build the word, “Vayashk,” (vav,yud.shin and quf) build a new word. “Vayishak” Yaakov l’Rachel,” and Yaakov kissed Rachel (Bereshit 29.11). He was now taking this great light and giving sustenance to his soul mate Rachel. From this we learn how important a kiss can be. It is mamash a transfer of sustenance. It is saying I want to give to you. I kiss you on a level that is purely selfless. I only want to give you life.
We must take this great lesson to know that the way Hashem has set up our world we can always be giving each other the life force that we each need to go together and fix our world. Only selflessly together can we attain the heights of spiritual accomplishment that we each need to get to to fulfill our soul purpose in this world. This is our reflective connection to Hashem that allows us to be a pipeline of life for each other. We need to be with God so we need to be with each other. I for one have had enough of all of the hatred, name calling and separation. There simply can’t be any good in that way of behavior.
May Hashem bless us all to see our own personal reality, within and without, and be willing to constantly give of ourselves for the sake of others and ultimately do the exact fixing that we were sent here to do.