Although all three forefathers communicated with Hashem, only Jacob is recorded as having a vision of Him at night. The first time was when Jacob was fleeing to the city of Charan to escape the wrath of his brother Esau and to find himself a wife.
Although all three forefathers communicated with Hashem, only Jacob is recorded as having a vision of Him at night. The first time was when Jacob was fleeing to the city of Charan to escape the wrath of his brother Esau and to find himself a wife. This week's Torah portion includes the other "night vision" which takes place as Jacob travels to Egypt to be reunited with his long lost son, Joseph.
This uniqueness of Jacob can be understood symbolically. Various commentators have suggested that Jacob was the "Patriarch of Exile". His ability to live with the underhanded Lavan for twenty years and to emerge spiritually unscathed makes him a model for us all.
Specifically on these two occasions when Jacob is leaving the Promised Land, the Almighty reveals Himself to Jacob at night, as if to say, "My divine presence will even be with you even in the darkness of exile." It is for this reason that, according to the Talmud (Berakhot 26b), Jacob instituted Aravit, the prayer of the night. In a broader sense, Jacob is the forefather of all life crises. As King David states in Psalm 20, "Hashem will answer you in the day of distress, the name of the G-d of Jacob will strengthen you." Jacob teaches us, therefore, that if we stick with Hashem, He will be there to help us overcome adversity.
This D'var Torah is based on the Meshech Chachma, a book written by Rabbi Meir Simcha of Dvinsk.
Rabbi Elie Cohen, who hails from Atlanta, writes from Columbus, Ohio.
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