Parshat Vayeitzeh – Serving G-D – 2009

Parshat Vayeitzeh November 26, 2009

The classic way of serving Hashem is through the three principles of learning torah, prayer and good deeds. These are all within the realm of the spiritual world. Many people have spent time in their lives in which they went to yeshiva, or took a year off to “sit and learn”. This is just what Ya’akov Avinu did in the house of Shem and Ever for fourteen years, immersed in holiness, isolated from the troubles of Esav and self contained in the realm of awesome spirituality. But then came the time that he had to rise to an even higher level by means of connecting with the real world. And Ya’akov went to Charan to face the reality of a mundane, tricky, physical, material world. How do you think he managed? Ya’akov dreams about a ladder: “Ya’akov had a vision in a dream. A ladder was on the ground and its head reached heaven.” (Bereishit 28:10) This illustration taken out of his conscience was an indication to him that it was time to connect heaven and earth. He dreamt about himself, not on the ladder, be that he in fact WAS the ladder. There is a saying in chazal, “Pitchu li petach shel machat, Ani eftach lachem petach shel oolam” (If you open the passageway to opportunity- by just a crack- G-d will pull it wide open for you). But the first attempt comes from you. This is the first step on the ladder of undertaking something. As we clamber up the ladder of our daily tasks, annoyances, things we need to do, with will and firm resolve, it becomes a ladder of iron will and we say “come what may!” But a person has to step on from the lowest, most basic stair. That’s the only way it can be a stairway to heaven. You can’t jump on. There are no shortcuts. You should know that G-d is right there pushing you from behind. Step by step. Thomas Edison once said “If we did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves”. Ya’akov merited in ascending to the highest level, rising up to all the challenges placed before him. How would you feel if you worked for someone for seven straight years and weren’t paid? How would you feel if you thought you were marrying the woman of your dreams and behold- you were rooked? How would you feel leaving a holy haven to play a bunco game for 20 years? Ya’akov wasn’t looking to be a star in Fame. He wasn’t even climbing Mount Everest. He could have left the earth behind, but he chose to be the ladder himself, connecting heaven and earth. This is what we call coping. It is a very Jewish concept that began with our forefathers. He left Lavan’s house shalem- whole. Untouched and only blessed. He is the perfect balance that we call Tiferet. When people don’t hesitate, they don’t fall down. He was devoted to the task of building the House of Israel, called Beit Ya’akov. This was only achieved through complete faith in G-d. Thoughts, deeds and speech are the rungs in the ladder we call “yours truly”. How you do them is up to you. They are all interconnected. You may hit a blind alley on your journey of the day but when you know that G-d is on your side, if you do the right thing, there can never be a stalemate in the game we call life. Ya’akov never had rest, like most of our forefathers and kings. King David said, “Who will rise to the mountain of G-d!” Only the devoted. Devoted to chayim tovim, a good life (you make it, you break it) – Shabbat Shalom, Leah Goldsmith (Many of the ideas in this torah were given by the Rav Chaim Hacohen, shlitah- hachalban) Shabbat Shalom, Leah Goldsmith

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