19 Nov Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat Vayeitzei
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Vayeitzei in which Yaakov makes the reverse trip that Avraham had made and goes from the Promised Land back to Aram, the land of Avraham’s ancestors. It is interesting to note that of the three forefathers, the only one to live their entire life without exiting the land is Yitzchak. It was in fact in last week’s parasha that Yitzchak was prepared to temporarily leave due to famine but was stopped by God. Avraham obviously lived outside the land in his early years and here Yaakov not only goes but is promised protection. It provides for us, as Jews of the Diaspora, different models of where we ultimately live our lives. To be sure, there is tremendous value correctly placed on always being in the Promised Land and those who are able to make their lives there should be supported and encouraged with all means at our disposal. But with Yaakov’s journey, we are reminded that God is with us wherever we are, though we should remember that Yaakov did eventually make his way back to his homeland, the ancient land of Israel.