February 17, 2018


The Parasha of VaYetse is a natural continuation of the last weekly portion of Toldot and the story of the dispute between the two brothers Esau and Jacob, the sons of Isaac and Rivka. Their story symbolizes the constant dispute between our body awareness (Esau) and our soul awareness (Jacob) and to whom we grant the birthright, the power to rule.

The weekly portion starts with the words “And Jacob ‘got out’ (vayetse ויצא) of Beer-Sheba in order to go to Haran”. These words make us ask why the Torah uses the expression “’got out’, (vayetse ויצא)”? Why isn’t it written simply: “And Jacob went from Beer-Sheba to Haran”? Rashi (The great French commentator of the 11th century CE) explains that this use of words was in order to show that Jacob’s departure of Beer-Sheba was a Kefitsat HaDerekh (“contracting the path” or ‘a quantum leap’), meaning, once he was in one place and a moment after in another.

The Zohar explains Rashi’s interpretation by saying that in a spiritual work, in order to reach the awareness of Jacob we first need to identify the Esau within us – the selfishness, anger, fear and blame. Then we need to resist the negative urge and immediate desire, and to get out of our body awareness and to make an enormous jump, a quantum one. By doing so, instead of reaching Haran (linguistic from Haron, Hebrew for anger) Jacob reached the “place” (“And he hit upon the place…”), in which according to the commentators is the Holy of Hollies (the Foundation Stone on Mt. Moriah, the place of the Binding of Isaac and, a millennium later, the place of the Temple in Jerusalem).

The Torah keeps on telling that when Jacob landed upon ‘the place’ he takes some stones and places them under his head. During his sleep he’s having a dream – “… behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven…” The Zohar explains that the ladder symbolizes our thought that can help us reach the heavens. When Jacob wakes up it is written that he “took the stone that he had put under his head” – the ’stones’ turned into one stone. The Midrash explains that when Jacob took the stones they started to fight which of them will have the honor of having Jacob’s head to lie on, so God instantly made them one stone. Meaning, by using our thought/mind we got rid of the Esau within us, having no more separation and division, and connecting to the Jacob within and by that reaching heaven, ‘the place’, Holy of Hollies – the place which we are having an awareness of “one”, that the Creator and us are one, a world of unity and wholeness.

That is the quantum leap that the Parasha of VaYetse offers us. A way to manifest our true, inner self – our soul and reach the spiritual place we aspire.

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