Shabbat Vayeitzei 5778–Shabbat Torah Study–More Strength than You Thought Possible

Jacob finally arrives in Haran fourteen years after fleeing home to avoid Esau’s revenge. His mission now is to fulfill his parents’ instructions to find a wife among his mother’s people. On arrival and waking from the famous ladder dream, Jacob finds a group of shepherds waiting for other shepherds needed to help roll a stone off the mouth off a well. Genesis 29:9. While speaking with the shepherds, it turns out that Jacob is in the exact place that Rachel will arrive, bringing her own flock. Jacob sees her and rolls the stone off the well by himself!

Have you ever felt like you were actually watching God’s plan unfold? Have you ever felt that you were in the plan and an important part of it? Have you ever felt that something could not just be a coincidence? The Sages say that this is exactly what happened to Jacob. He was completely overwhelmed by witnessing the hand of God. After 14 years away from home and suddenly arriving in Haran, the first woman he would meet would be the woman he was intended and destined to meet; none other than Rachel.

Jacob was so inspired, so moved, so excited and so empowered by personally experiencing this providence that he drew the strength to move the well stone himself. Though Jacob is described earlier as the mild man of the tent, compared to Esau pictured as the burly hunter of the outdoors, we can see that Jacob was a man of strength too, not merely brains. The midrash is that during the 14 years between home and Haran, Jacob studied at the Yeshiva of Shem and Eber in preparation for dealing with the Laban’s chicanery. It may be that the Yeshiva had a gym there for Jacob to work out in.

Have you ever been surprised at you own strength—mental or physical—courage, perseverance or drive? Was it in response to inspiration? Desperation? Adversity? Didn’t know that you had it in you? Look at what you can be accomplish.

This Shabbat we do not have a formal Torah Study, but a wonderfully warm Shabbat community awaits you anyway!

Have a great Shabbat,

Paul Magy

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