VAYIETZEI – “He left….”

The seventh section of Genesis begins to map the journey of the third Patriarch, Jacob. It opens as he leaves Canaan to find a wife from among his kinsmen in Aram.

On the way to Aram, Jacob spent the night on Mount Moriah (known today as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem) and his dream saw a vision of angels ascending and descending a ladder to heaven. When he awoke, realising how holy this site was, he vowed that if G-d would protect him, provide for him throughout his stay in Aram and enable him to return both physically and spiritually unharmed, he would consecrate this site for the future Temple.

Jacob vowed,” If G-d will be with me and protect me on this journey that I am undertaking, and will provide me with bread to eat and clothing to wear, returning me to my Fathers house unharmed.” (28:20)

Bread and clothing refer to the study of Torah and the performance of His commandments respectively. When we study the Torah, G-d’s wisdom becomes a part of us, just as the food we eat becomes a part of us. When we perform a commandment, we are enveloped by an external, transcendent feeling of inspiration, much as a garment surrounds and warms us.

In this context, “returning to my father’s house unharmed” alludes to our return to the domain of holiness, after venturing out temporarily into the mundane world, in order to refine and elevate it to holiness.

Wishing you a pleasant and peaceful Shabbat and successful week to follow.