Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Life does not always go as planned. Job loss, separation, financial crisis, and other unexpected hardships can take us out of our comfort zone and into an unknown future. In a certain sense, this is what happened to all of us last year, the year of the corona.
This also happens in this week's Torah portion, Vayeitzei. Yaakov is a wholesome individual, a peaceful "tent dweller" and a student. Suddenly he is forced to leave his home. His brother Esau wants to kill him and he flees to Charan. It is easy to imagine that Yaakov would be fearful and lacking in confidence. But our commentators explain that one detail in the story changes everything. Before Yaakov sets out on his journey, Yitzchak his father takes him aside, blesses him, and tells him the time has come to fulfill his mission: to continue the line of succession and to build the nation of Israel. Go to Charan, find a wife, and raise a familty. Yaakov changes from someone running for his life to a man who builds his future and that of the entire nation. He is no longer "fleeing from" but rather "going towards." There is enormous significance to his actions. Armed with the awareness of his obligation, Yaakov sets out on his journey full of determination and a sense of responsibility.
Life occasionally compels us to leave our comfort zone. If we wish to find our mission in topsy-turvy times, we will discover that every crisis is an opportunity for renewal and growth.