Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Life does not alway go as planned. Dismissal from a job, separation from a spouse, financial troubles, and other pressures can jolt us out of our comfort zone and force us into an unknown future.
Such is the situation in which Ya'akov finds himself in Toldot, the Torah portion we just read on Shabbat. Ya'akov is an "ish tam yoshev ohalim," a wholesome man living a contemplative life who is forced to leave his home since his brother Esav wants to kill him. He flees to Charan, alone and penniless.
But our commentators explain how, just before leaving, one event changes everything. His father Yitzchak summons him, blesses him, and charges him with a mission: to continue the lineage established by his grandfather Avraham and to build the nation of Israel. Go to Charan, find a wife, raise a family, guide and lead them with the values of your forebears.
Ya'akov is transformed from a refugee on the run to an individual who builds a glorious future not only for himself but for the entire nation. He is no longer "fleeing from" but "going towards."
This outlook of looking forward to the future with a sense of purpose is worthwhile to adopt in our personal and national lives. It's always possible to change our perspective, especially when our team at work, our children, or just ourselves are given a task, a purpose, and a mission; then, all of a sudden, everything looks different as life takes on new meaning with greater potential than ever before.