Acceptance & Initiative
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departed from Be’er Sheva and went toward Charan. He came to the place (Mount
Moriah) and he spent the night there” (Bereshis 28:10-11).
The beginning of
this week’s portion occurs as Yaakov is departing from Be’er Sheva, where he
had spent the previous fourteen years immersed in Torah study. He was now on the
way to Charan in order to find a wife. When he had reached Charan, it occurred
to him that he had passed Mount Moriah. Mount Moriah was the place where Avraham
had brought his son Yitzchok as an offering. It was also a place where both
Avraham and Yitzchok had prayed to Hashem, and would be the future location of
the Beis Hamikdash -- the Temple. Yaakov proceeded to turn around and return to
realized he had missed Mount Moriah he was engaged preparing for the mitzva of
finding a wife. Why was it important for Yaakov to go back to Mount Moriah, and
delay this mitzva?
First, let us
understand what happened to Yaakov when he got to Mount Moriah.
Right after Yaakov
arrived, he prayed, and it was there that he instituted the evening prayer.
Why only now did
Yaakov institute the evening prayer? In order for Yaakov to achieve any of his
goals, a few things have to happen. First of all, he had to be accomplished in
Torah. Yaakov spent fourteen years studying Torah. But he was not simply
studying. Rashi tells us that for these fourteen years, Yaakov never slept in a
bed, because he was so occupied with Torah.
Yaakov also had to
do more than be accomplished in Torah. He
also had to continue to go in the ways of his father and grandfather, Yitzchok
and Avraham. One reason he had to go back to Mount Moriah was because they had
Finally he had to
go back because of the actual holiness of Mount Moriah. Mount Moriah was not
holy because Avraham had offered up Yitzchok there, or because Avraham and
Yitzchok prayed there. Avraham was commanded to offer up Yitzchok on this
mountain, and Avraham and Yitzchok prayed there because
it was holy. This is a subtle difference, but a large one. Hashem created
the Land of Israel with a special degree of holiness. Mount Moriah, the place of
the Beis Hamikdash, had an even higher degree of holiness. So in order for
Yaakov to reach his goal and innovate the time for the evening prayer, he had
subject himself to this specific place.
relationship with Hashem needs initiative from us, but sometimes it requires us
to accept it passively. In this situation, it was a combination.
Yaakov subjected himself to the holiness of the place while at the same
time innovating the evening prayer.
rules apply to each one of us. In order for us to best reach our potential, we
must go in the ways of our ancestors, subject ourselves to Hashem’s laws, and
also initiate in our relationship with Him.