Parsha Thought – Vayetze

Jacob’s Dream (1639 painting by Jusepe de Ribera)

A Shabbat thought on this week’s Torah portion:

The portion this week is וַיֵּצֵא‬ (Vayetze), which means, “And he left”. It is about Jacob’s journey from his home and family to find a wife in his grandfather’s home country.

The section opens with the verse, “Jacob left Beer-sheba, and set out for Haran.”

A fairly straight forward verse, easy to understand, but (at least for me this week) full of meaning.

Sometimes we have to leave where we are at and move on. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. Sometimes we have to make the long difficult journey in order to progress along the path that Yahweh has for us. Consider Jacob. In Genesis 28:21, when talking to his father about Yahweh he says, “your Elohim (God).” Jacob’s faith wasn’t his own, he still considered it the ways of his father.

But, as we all do, Jacob had to make this difficult journey in order to move to what he said in 27:20, “Yahweh my Elohim (God).”

Note that there are 2 “leavings” in this verse. First, Jacob left. Then, he set out. The same is true for us. How easy it is for us to leave, but then never go anywhere! We can take that first step, but then don’t take the next one. The first step is often the most emotionally charged. “There I did it! It’s done!” But until we take the second step we don’t fill the void in our lives left by what was left. The void, if it remains unfilled can become a breeding ground for bitterness, hurt, depression, and everything that brings us into bondage.

This is why Teshuvah (repentance) is not just the act of removing sin from our lives, but also encompasses the returning to Torah.

May Yahweh bless you as you make whatever journey you are on. May your steps be filled with the good things that restore and fill up.

Shabbat Shalom!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email