November 26, 2020 / 10 Kislev, 5781 • Parshat Vayeitzei
Issue 642
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

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.

Genesis 28:10

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.

Menachot 29b

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

was created.

To help make our world a better place—a home and haven

for G-d.

—from Shabbat/deLights