The portion Vayetze begins with Jacob being in a very dark place. His brother Esau wants to kill him, and he has to run away from his home. It even says that on his way there, he is robbed and everything he has is taken from him. So, he’s literally left with nothing, and running for his life. That’s the first verse of the portion Vayetze; Jacob leaves everything that is good, which is represented by Be’er Sheva, where he is leaving, and goes to Haran, a word the Zohar explains means darkness and judgment.
"The Light and blessings revealed to Jacob changed the course of human history."
Then, something happens and Jacob transforms from this darkness of Haran, of judgment, into the next verse, where it says he comes to a place, sleeps there, and suddenly has a great revelation of the Light of the Creator. This revelation is a historical one, because it’s not just a specific personal revelation to Jacob; it is a revelation to humanity. The Light and blessings revealed in this moment in time change the course of human history. As such, whatever it is that changed Jacob’s consciousness from the first verse of this portion of being in a place of complete lack and darkness to the next stage where the Light of the Creator in Its totality is revealed to him is clearly very important to understand. However, right now I don’t want to focus on what brought Jacob to this moment; rather, I want us all to focus on, and appreciate, what is given to us on this Shabbat.
At this great revelation, on Shabbat Vayetze, the Creator gives Jacob three blessings, blessings that are available to all of us. And it is important to be conscious of them, because when we read or hear this section in the Torah, we can also receive these blessings.
What are the three blessings?
The Zohar teaches that the place where Jacob is sleeping, where this revelation occurs, is in the place called the Holy of Holies, in Jerusalem. It represents not only a physically elevated space, but also the most spiritually elevated state of connection in the world. And the Creator says to Jacob, “I am giving you the land upon which you are sleeping.” In so doing, the Creator is giving him the keys to the physical, and more importantly, spiritual place, the Holy of Holies, the place where everybody in the world must connect. The Creator is giving Jacob the ability to not only hold onto, but also open, the spiritual connection for the world.
In his commentary to the Zohar on the previous portion Toldot, Rav Ashlag explains that the battle we read about between Jacob and Esau was not actually a battle about inheritance; it was a battle over who will own the spiritual path, the path to connect to the Light of the Creator. And here, Jacob wins, receiving that gift from the Creator. He holds the keys to connecting with the Light of the Creator for himself and the world. He holds the keys to the true spiritual path. That’s the first blessing.
"The Creator gives us these three blessings."
For the second blessing, the Creator tells Jacob that his descendants, both physically and spiritually, will go throughout the world bringing it to a state of connection to the Light of the Creator, and sharing the tools and wisdom to get there. Then comes the third blessing, which is my favorite of the three. The Creator promises Jacob, “I am with you always, I will be with you always, and I will protect you everywhere you go.” A blessing which, again, if we have the consciousness and Desire to Receive while either reading or listening to this portion, is given to us, as well.
I really hope we can truly appreciate what is available on Shabbat Vayetze. The Creator opens up the gates and gives every person who desires it an element of these three blessings: the true spiritual path, the ability to disseminate Its Light throughout the world, and the guarantee of always and constantly being with us and protecting us everywhere we go. Not only are these blessings available and being awakened on Shabbat Vayetze, but also, it is really a historical moment in which the world changes. Jacob is given the ability, power, and wisdom to be the conduit that will break the spiritual wisdom open to the world, bringing everybody the opportunity to connect.