Opening Our Eyes by Zevi Goldberg


After Yaakov wakes up from his dream, he says, אכן יש ה' במקום הזה, “Surely, Hashem is in this place” (Bereishit 28:16).  The word  אכןimplies that something was exposed to Yaakov that he had not known before: Hashem’s presence. Then Yaakov says,ואנכי לא ידעתי , “And I did not know.”  How could Yaakov have been expected to see Hashem’s Presence if it was not told to him before his Nevuah? Can we blame Yaakov for something he had no knowledge of?

Based on the Gemara in Chullin, the Ohr Hachaim offers an answer. The Gemara says that when Yaakov was passing the site of his dream, Hashem purposely made the sun set early to ensure that Yaakov would sleep at the holy site. The Ohr Hachaim says that we can use this to better understand the chronology of events with Yaakov at the mountain. First, Yaakov was traveling, and without paying attention to the hand of Hashem in the miraculous sunset, he set up his tent for the night. He received the Nevuah in a dream and then woke up feeling guilty. Yaakov’s first introduction to the שכינה should not have been in a dream. The word אכן refers to revelation that Hashem did a miracle for Yaakov, one that Yaakov only appreciated once his awareness was enhanced by his Nevuah. Then Yaakov feels remorse and says ואנכי לא ידעתי because he realizes that he did not fully grasp the situation the first time. Yaakov should have been more conscious of his surroundings. He should have constantly been looking for Hashem’s hand in everyday life. The sunset was just one of the many miracles Hashem performed for Yaakov and performs for all of Bnai Yisrael everyday, yet Yaakov failed to realize this.

Many times peoples walk through life with their eyes closed. Every day, Hashem performs millions of miracles that we fail to recognize. This was the mistake of Yaakov: not realizing Hashem’s brilliance and walking through his life with his eyes closed. However, Yaakov was able to realize his mistake and become me aware. Unfortunately many people do no improve till it is to late. 

Yaakov the Tzaddik by Jonathan Frank

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