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PARASHAT VAYETZE

The opening pasuk from our parasha tells us Yakov traveled from Be'er Sheva to Charan (28:10). From this seemingly ordinary pasuk Rashi, quoting the Midrash Rabba, learns a very valuable lesson. It was very necessary, claims Rashi, for the Torah to inform us that Yakov was traveling to Charan. Any conscientious reader of Chumash already knows, from last week's parasha, that Yakov traveled from Be’er Sheva. Why, then, does the Torah stress Yakov's comings and goings?

Rashi answers, famously, that when a Tzadik leaves a makom, he leaves an indelible imprint (roshem) on that place. While there, the value of the Tzadik's spiritual influence is immeasurable. It is no small matter when a Tzadik leaves our reshut, our domain (this, of course, feels very relevant as we recently lost two Gedolei Yisrael, Rabbi Dovid Feinstein and Rabbi Jonathan Sacks).

I vividly recall a hesped a Rav delivered for MaRan Chacham Ovadiah Yosef Za"tzal. The Rav mentioned the first feeling he had when he heard of the petira of MaRan was pachad, fear. Who knew what zechuyot, merits, the world received, Eretz Yisrael received, Yerushalayim received, because of the roshem of Maran. Now that he left to the Olam HaEmet, he was scared for Klal Yisrael. While there will always be Gedolim and Manhigei Yisrael, each leader provides countless protections for Am Yisrael. The dedication one must have, and the contributions and sacrifice one must accumulate to become a leader of our great nation, is a larger-than-life task.

We have the comfort of knowing we can always pray to Hashem for help, as we learn from our forefather Yakov, "Vayifga BaMakom." (28:11) This action of Yakov Avinu established the Tefillah of Arvit. Even in dark, uncertain times we know we can always turn to Avinu She-baShamayim.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Yehuda Moses Rav HaKehillah/Senior Rabbi

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Thu, November 26 2020 10 Kislev 5781