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Don't miss out on holiness

סולפ יעקב
ציור: אהובה קליין

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Rabbi Netanel Elyashiv comments on the beginning of this week's parasha where Ya'akov flees from Esav and sleeps at the side of the road in an arbitrary place. Only after he dreams about a ladder with angels ascending and descending upon it and hears glorious promises from God about his future does he realize he has slept in a holy place. As the Torah tells us: "And Ya'akov awakened from his sleep and he said, 'Indeed, the Lord is in this place and I did not know it.'"
We cannot predict where we will meet the Master of the Universe. We do not encounter holiness only when we prepare for it. In fact, sometimes at work, in the living room, or in the course of casual contact with a friend, we are enchanted by the unexpected depth that is revealed.
We belong to a culture where reality instantly changes with the push of a button, as we impatiently switch from one news flash or media blast to another. We are reluctant to let ourselves devote more than a fleeting moment to anything. With this helter skelter approach to life, we are likely to overlook opportunities for holiness. Just as we are quick to turn our attention from one thing to the next, we may carry this impatient mindset into other areas. For example, if something goes wrong between a couple, they may impetuously decide to separate, forgetting that there is much value and many opportunities to show love in their relationship if only they took the time to look for them.
"Indeed, the Lord is in this place and I did not know it." It would be wise to try and adopt a calm approach to living that fosters tranquility, a willingness to listen, and a slower pace so we do not act impulsively and miss out on holiness.


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