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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Yonah Burr

Vayeitzei: Warp Speed

Our Sages teach about a concept called קפיצת הדרך, miraculously traveling long distances in a very short time.

Eliezer, when he traveled at Avraham's behest to find a wife for Yitzchok, experienced this phenomenon. He embarked on a journey hundreds of miles long. But the possuk states (ואבא היום אל העין (בראשית כד:מב, "I came today to the spring”. He arrived at his destination, Charan, that very day.

In this week’s parsha, we encounter this again. Yaakov arrives at Charan and realizes that he neglected to daven at Har Hamoria, where his forefathers davened. As soon as he puts his mind to it, he finds himself back in Yerushalayim!

The commentaries derive 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 also creations, whose purpose is to provide 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. The area of the floorspace without the Aron was the same as the area with the Aron there. 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 where 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 makes an interesting observation. In 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 did Hashem "bring the mountain to Yaakov" instead of bringing Yaakov to the mountain?

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 can be used as a tremendous source of inspiration. We are only a ‘phone call’ away -- and even closer! Faster than the speed of sound, we can return to the Hashem and the Bais Hamikdash!

Have a wonderful Shabbos!

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