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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Yonah Burr

Vayetzei: It's All Good

ויאמר ד' אל יעקב שוב אל ארץ אבותיך ולמולדתך ואהיה עמך וישלח יעקב ויקרא לרחל וללאה השדה אל צאנו. ויאמר להן, ראה אנכי את פני אביכן כי איננו אלי כתמול שלשם ואלקי אבי היה עמדי. ואתנה ידעתן כי בכל כחי עבדתי את אביכן ואביכן התל בי והחלף את משכרתי עשרת מנים ולא נתנו אלקים להרע עמדי. אם כה יאמר נקדים יהיה שכרך וילדו כל הצאן נקדים ואם כה יאמר עקדים יהיה שכרך וילדו כל הצאן עקדים. ויצל אלקים את מקנה אביכם ויתן לי. וגו, אנכי הקל בית קל אשר משחת שם מצב אשר נדרת לי שם נדר עתה קום צא מן הארץ הזאת ושוב אל ארץ מולדתך.

And Hashem said to Yaakov, ‘return to the land of your fathers and your birthplace’ and I will be with you’. So, Yaakov sent and called for Rachel and Leah, to come out to the field, to the sheep. And he said to them, I have seen that your father’s countenance is no longer as it was before; and the G-d of my father has always been with me. And you surely know, that I worked for your father with all my strength; but your father tricked me and switched my wage a hundred times. But Hashem did not allow him to cause me any harm; If he said the spotted ones are your wage, all the flock would bear spotted ones. And if he would say ringed ones should be your wage, all the flock would bear ringed ones. And Hashem separated and gave me the flock of your father. Now, Hashem has appeared to me and asked me to return and fulfill my vow to Him”

Anyone learning or overhearing this conversation can’t help but wonder, if Hashem said its time to leave and go back home, then it is simply time to leave and go home. Why did Yaakov feel compelled to rationalize and explain that anyway Lavan is mistreating us, and is trying to trick us, and we have nothing more to gain here, etc? Even Rachel and Leah responded the same way- ‘our father didn’t even give us a dowry, and made you work for us, and we are not going to inherit any of our father’s property anyway’, etc. Only at the very end did our Matriarchs say, ‘let’s listen to all that Hashem tells us’.

Rav Elya Lopian zt”l learns an important lesson from this: Of course we are obligated to listen to Hashem whether we understand it or not; and we acknowledge that we are obligated to do His bidding whether we like it or not. However, we should try to avoid feeling that we are ‘sacrificing’ in any way by listening to Him. We should try to see and appreciate that everything Hashem asks of us is for our good, and Torah and Mitzvos is ultimately the most pleasurable thing on earth. Serving Hashem out of joy and happiness is so much more valuable than serving Hashem with a feeling of resentment of deprivation.

If we look around and recognize that the blueprint that Hashem gave us provides us with the most wholesome and fulfilling existence possible, and the feeling of closeness we can have with Him eclipses all else, we are ready to fully embrace the Torah, and reach levels we never thought possible.

Have a wonderful Shabbos!

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