This week’s Torah portion begins with the word Vayeitzei, “he
went out,” and embodies the message of this parsha.
Jacob went out from Be’er Sheva, and he went to Haran.
In order for Jacob to become the patriarch of the Jewish
people, he had to “go out,” to leave the haven of an insular
life, as well as the material and spiritual comforts of his
home, and face the challenges of a hostile world.
Jacob leaves the spiritual idyll of Be’er Sheva in the Holy
Land to travel to Haran. Be’er Sheva literally means the “well
of seven” and metaphorically refers to the seven Divine attributes
of the soul. Haran literally means “wrath,” and was
a place of lies, deception, struggle, and manipulation. In the
materialistic, contentious land of Haran, Jacob marries and
fathers the tribes of Israel.
Jacob’s travel reflects the journey of all of our lives.
A newborn baby’s soul cries bitterly as it descends from its
cozy, spiritual home to face a harsh, combative world, the
antithesis of all things that the soul knew, loved, and was
comforted by. Yet, in facing the many challenges and in staying
strong to its values, the soul finds its mission and raison
“To Haran” is indicated by the Hebrew letter hei, ה, suffixed to
the word Haran חרנ-ה. Hei is the second letter of the
name of G-d through which G-d created our physical world.
No matter in which city or country we currently live, we are
all citizens of Haran. Each day, we face the challenges of our
Haran life. And, as much as we want to protect ourselves
and our children from the ravages of our world, it is precisely
here that each of us fulfills the purpose for which our world
To help make our world a better place—a home and haven