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Parshat Vayeitzei: Staying Focused In The Face Of Adversity

We all set out on a journey at the very beginning of our lives. We aim to achieve the goals we create for ourselves. At times we encounter crossroads, or even setbacks. But not to worry, for these moments can serve as critical reminders of our original destination. The challenge we all face is: how do we retain our focus in a world of constant change? 3500 years ago our father Jacob set out on a voyage, which would serve as a catalyst for each of our own individual journeys. He traveled alone to a foreign land, to establish a family, firmly loyal to the ideals embedded in him, by his forefathers. He would have to be vigilant every step of the way, to ensure that powerful forces would not, knowingly or cunningly, distract him from realising his goals. No doubt Jacob was aware of the challenges that lay ahead even before he set out on his journey. We know this from his epic dialogue with G-d, as he spent the night on the ‘Temple Mount’. He begs G-d to “Return safe to my father’s house”. But what is the secret to maintaining one’s focus in a world fraught with inevitable twists and turns? The answer lies in the remainder of that same sentence: “The Lord (Havaya) shall be my G-d” (Elokim). You see, the reason why we lose our way in life, is because we don’t see our macro vision in life’s setbacks, or seemingly random details. This is especially true when things don’t go according to the original itinerary we set for our journey. The undeniable truth is that life rarely goes according to plan. All that is expected from us is to keep our eye on the ball, as we navigate through the inevitable hurdles which mark our path. The mystics explain that the name Havaya refers to the macro divine force which creates and sustains the universe. The name Elokim” on the other hand, refers to the micro divine force which obscures the holistic dimension of existence. Jacob recognised that the only way he can overcome the inevitable challenges of his life’s journey, is to fuse these two dynamics. As long as we realise that the seemingly unhelpful distractions and detours, are neither setbacks nor random occurrences, but are in fact vital components in the macro vision, only then can we ensure that we will return home safely to “my father’s house”. It is all about discovering the unifying theory, embedded within the seemingly random parts.

Dedicated by Tommy Kulcsar


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