The Rest of the Story

November 30, 2019 at 1:59 AM , , ,

“….On the third day, Lavan was informed that Yaakov had fled. He took along his kinsmen and pursued him for the distance of seven day journey….” – Bereishit 31:22-23

״…ויוגד ללבן ביום השלישי כי ברח יעקב, ויקח את אחיו עמו וירדוף אחריו דרך שבעת ימים….״ – בראשית לא, כב-כג

The Rest of the Story

There is a famous teaching of the Baal Shem Tov (explained in Tanya, Iggeres Hakodesh 25,) that if a Jew is standing in prayer and a gentile is trying to disturb him, he should not be disheartened; for this disturbance too has a G-dly purpose. It came about in order to motivate him to delve even more fervently into the prayers he is reciting, to a point that he cannot even hear the disturbance amid his passionate prayers.

The provocateur’s actions were prompted by his spiritual source, whose goal is to contribute to the realm of kedusha, holiness. The negative form that this energy assumes, as a disturbance to a Jew’s prayers, is only because the medium through which it is channeled into the physical world is unholy. At its core, however, this “disturbance” is only a means of adding depth and passion to the Jew’s communion with G-d.

In a similar vein, the Maggid of Mezritch explained why Lavan chased after Yaakov and his family when they left Charan. The purpose of Yaakov’s stay with Lavan had been to extract the “sparks of holiness” hidden there and restore them to their rightful and holy place and purpose. When Yaakov left, however, there were still some holy sparks, “letters of the Torah,” that he had not yet extracted. Accordingly, the objective of Lavan’s pursuit of Yaakov was to enable him to give Yaakov those holy “letters”. These holy letters were restored to Yaakov, forming the words in the Torah that tell the story of Lavan chasing Yaakov and their meeting that ensued (Or Hatorah, Hosafos 5).

The same is true with regard to all difficulties that we encounter in our efforts to do G-d’s will. Instead of being weakened by an obstacle, we must recognize and reveal that it too is a catalyst for bringing about greater kedusha in this world. At its core, a challenge to kedusha is but a means of generating even greater motivation and resolve in our service of G-d.

—Likutei Sichos vol. 1, pp. 80-81


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