Geshmack Dvar Torah

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Geshmack Dvar Torah of the Week: Yakov's Journey

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Yakov's Journey

There are several Divrei Torah this week, click here to see the rest

"וַיֵּצֵא יַעֲקֹב מִבְּאֵר שָׁבַע וַיֵּלֶךְ חָרָנָה - And Jacob left Beer sheba, and he went to Charan"

Why would Yakov leave the kedusha of Eretz Yisroel and go to Charan? A place devoid of spirituality and ruchnius? Furthermore we know where Yakov lived, so why does the Torah stress that he left Be'er Sheva. If he went on a journey, presumably he started at home.

The Sfas Emes explains that Yakov's departure was a preparation for Klal Yisroel's eventual exiles in Chutz La'aretz. Yakov therefore voluntarily traveled to a place where Hashem's presence was more 'nistar', or less visible to show his descendants that even in the darkest of places, the torch of our faith can shine brightly, an example of Maaseh Avos Siman LeBonim.

Furthermore, Yakov Avinu showed us how we can keep our faith throughout our struggles and hardships. Be'er Sheva. the place he left, represents complete spirituality. A be'er is a well of water. Water is the life force of all creatures and figuratively represents the spiritual life force, the connection to G-d that sustains everything around us. Sheva means seven, representing the seventh day of the week - Shabbos.

Shabbos is a time that we distance ourselves from the mundane and unimportant things that occupy our lives. It is a time when we can elevate ourselves to higher spiritual levels. Eating and sleeping are things that we do every day that seem to be the polar opposite of spirituality. Yet on Shabbos they take on a new dimension as a part of oneg Shabbos and allow us to bring spirituality and a higher purpose into the physical aspects of our lives. Thus Be'er Sheva figuratively represents a place where the spiritual source of life and its connection to the physical world are apparent.

Yakov our ancestor showed us how to travel through the darkness. We must always remeber where we came from and do our best to connect to our spiritual source. We may find ourselves in places where G-d seems remote and we do not see his hand guiding events around us. Yet, we have the capacity to serve Him through simple actions and even thoughts. A kind word or deed, a brocho on what we eat, brings G-d into our lives and give us a spiritual lift in even our darkest of hours.

*my thanks to MD Tokayer of for helping to bring the Sfas Emes to light

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