• Northeast Kollel

Vayeitzei: Faster than the Speed of Sound

By Rabbi Yonah Burr

Our Sages teach us about something called קפיצת הדרך, traveling long distances in a miraculously short amount of time.

This happened to Eliezer when he traveled at the behest of his master Avraham to find a wife for Yitzchok. The pasuk states ואבא היום אל העין (בראשית כד:מב), ”I came today to the spring”. He arrived at his destination that very day. We again find this in this week’s parsha with Yaakov; Yaakov arrives at Charan, and realizes that he neglected to daven at Har Hamoria, where his fore-fathers davened. And as soon as he put his mind to it, he found himself there.

The commentaries explain that this concept teaches us an important lesson; everything in this world was created to be used in the service of Hashem. When we perform mitzvos with physical objects, we elevate them and give them purpose. Time and space are creations as well, and they too were created only to give us a context to serve Hashem. When our service of Hashem calls for these laws of physics to be suspended, instead of being obstacles they simply disappear.

The Gemara tells us that the Holy Ark didn’t take up space; if one would measure the room of the Holy of Holies before bringing in the Aron Hakodesh, and then measure the floor space after it was brought in, he would discover that the Aron simply did not take up space. It defies the laws of physics, but that was the way it was.

If Hashem deemed it necessary for Eliezer to be by the well at that precise moment, that was were he was; if Hashem felt that now was the time for Yaakov to be in the place of the future Bais Hamikdash, nothing on earth would prevent that from happening, even time and space were no obstacle.

Rav Moshe Feinstein has an interesting observation. If the case of Eliezer, Rashi tells us that Eliezer found himself at the very well that Rivka would frequent. However, in the case of Yaakov, Rashi tells us that the very place of the Beis Hamikdash moved and traveled out to greet him! Why didn’t Hashem ‘simply’ bring Yaakov to the place, instead of bringing the place to him?

Rav Moshe explains that this was to teach us an additional lesson. Not only is the world a stage to serve Hashem, but we can even find Hashem, and even the Bais Hamikdash, on our way to the house of Lavan! Even when it seems that we are as far from holiness that we can possibly be, if we put our mind to it, we will find a Bais Hamikdash there as well; we can find what we need to serve Hashem wherever we are, in whatever situation we are in.

This is a tremendous source of inspiration for us; we are only a ‘phone call’ away-and even closer that that! Faster than the speed of sound, we can return to the Hashem and the Bais Hamikdash!

Have a wonderful Shabbos!