Parshat VaYetzei

This weeks Parsha begins with the words “Vayetze Yaakov MeBe’er Sheva,” “And Yaakov left Be’er Sheva.” The leaving home scene is all too familiar in the Torah, Avraham having been commanded in Parshat Lech Lecha to leave his land and family and go west. Yet there are two main distinctions between the stories. Firstly, Avraham is said to have “gone” or “journeyed,” whereas Yaakov “left” his home. Secondly, Avraham was commanded by Hashem to do so, while Yaakov was told to leave by his parents, and only received Hashem’s blessing mid-journey. Furthermore, Avraham’s blessing seems conditional, a reward for his service to Hashem.

The Beis HaLevi explains that there are two kinds of journeys: one to a destination, and one from an origin point. Vayelech implies the former. Vayetze, the latter. Avraham left to reach Cana’an, whereas Yaakov left on a personal journey, whether to escape his brother’s wrath, build a house, or create a life for himself as an Eved Hashem.

Now we have the tools to understand the second difference. When Hashem provides you with a task, with some commandment, then it is imperative that you put in your Hishtadlus before you can expect for your efforts to be supported. However, there are times that we need to define for ourselves what is best for us, in our efforts to serve Hashem as best as we can. There are times when we have a belief that Hashem put us on this earth to serve some purpose, to have our impact on this world, whatever it may be. There are times when we start a journey, a journey without a destination, with a desire to be greater or a better person is some way. To people like these, people with a simple desire to leave their past selves behind and to grow to a new madrega, Hashem promises unconditional support. Someone who personifies Vayetze, someone with the simple and pure desire to enhance their relationship with Hashem, to leave behind the faults of their past, without any reservations about where their journey may take them or why they are on this journey, is promised Hashem’s support, with no conditions or restrictions. May we all be zoche to have this desire to connect greatly to Hashem without condition, and may reciprocate that in his infinite desire to be close with us.

Student Studying in Sha’alvim