Parshas Vayaitzai

This week we read Parshas Vayaitzai. In the beginning of the Parsha, Jacob is leaving Israel, and is traveling to his mothers birthplace, Charan, to find a wife from the family of his mother Rebecca. When Jacob is at Mount Moriah, he has a prophetic dream. Hashem comes to Jacob and gives him one of the most beautiful blessings ever found in the Torah. “The land upon which you are resting I will give to you and to your children. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out Westward, Eastward, Northward and Southward; and all the families of the earth will bless themselves by you and by your children. And I will be with you, and I will watch you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land, for I will not forsake you until I have done what I have spoken about you.” (Genesis 28:13-15). What a blessing!! What would we pay to get such a blessing?! Could we only imagine what we would expect the reaction of Jacob to be?

When Jacob awakes, the words he says the following words: “How fearful is this place!! This is the house of Hashem, and the gate of Heaven!” (28:17). What did Jacob mean to say with this?

Our Sages tell us that Jacob was making a statement. He was saying, “If I would have realized that this was such a holy place, I never would have slept here.” The fact that it is disrespectful to sleep in a holy place would have prevented Jacob from sleeping there, even though he received such an amazing blessing when he was there! Imagine! Jacob was willing to forgo such a beautiful and special eternal blessing, so as not to offend the sanctity of a holy place! Wow!!

What would our reaction be? What would we say if we were offered a blessing of success for life if we only would act for one night in a slightly disrespectful manner to a synagogue, or to a holy item? Would we avoid doing this, or would we run to the Synagogue with our pillow to stay there? How often do we (myself included) forget to turn off the ringer to our cell phone when we come to Synagogue?

If Jacob taught us a lesson in this episode, it was how careful we must be when we deal with a place like a Synagogue, or a Study Hall. These places that are so special require our deep respect. Our conduct in them must reflect the realization that the presence of the Almighty is found there.

In this merit may all our prayers and those of all Israel be heard.