Parshat Vayeitzei: Sum of Departs

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Departures Sign
03 Dec 2008
Arts & Media

A journey has many parts; by

Studying them we learn and

By their implementation we

Move forward


Separating the parts from the sum

May make the journey a bit easier


Here are some of the parts that

Make up the journey of life.


Point of Departure


Yaakov departed from

Be’er Sheva and went

Toward Choron


All parts begin with parting

And all journeys begin with



But one must know the

Point of origin before one

Can find the point of departure:


Be’er Sheva is a place of comfort

And peace, where the wells flow

Strong and the covenants stronger

Yet. It is security, home, blanketed

In the cocoon that is family, safe in

The arms of healthy values and clear



Choron is a place of wrath, fury, anger:

The ugliness of the world


For a child, even a teenager or young adult,

There must be a Be’er Sheva; but once a

Person wishes to build a life, a family, a home

The person must depart from the comfort and

Security of home for the difficult challenges of

The world


Close Encounters of the Holy Kind


He encountered the place


He came and he prayed.


One would think the journey should

Begin with learning the new language,

Customs and dress of the new country.

One would think wrong.


We pray, connect to everything we

Have been taught and everything we

Will teach others; we pray that the past

Wells of knowledge and covenants of peace

Never be left behind even as we move



Ahead of the Pack


He took from the stones

Of the place and placed

Them around his head


Why only the head:

If he feared the wild,

Then the whole body

Should be surrounded;

If he didn’t, then none

Of the body should?


Because if the head is protected,

Surrounded by stones, hard rock

Solid faith and humility, unwavering

Then the wild of which we speak

Will not harm the body either; true

The body must deal in the physical

But when the head is in the right place

Then the entire body follows suit


A head represents intellect, but intellect is in flux;

The intellect differs in person, age and conviction:

However, when surrounded by stones, humility, then

The entire body of work and everything one does is safe

And sound


And then:


Stones Immaculate


This stone which I have

Set as a monument shall

Become a house of G-d


Not gold, not silver…

Not (only) the shiny

Things in life, but

(Even) the mundane

Ones become a home,

A place of warmth and

Comfort for the Divine


The Divine in a Torah scroll

Or in a prayer book, is one thing;

But when one takes stones, matter

And makes them Divine, that truly is

A sign of a home, where not only

Is the mat welcoming but the entire

Edifice is welcoming as well


We can truly accomplish this, each and

Every one of us our part, only when we

Depart from ourselves, pray and connect

For and to what is true, and put our heads

In the right places.


These are some of the parts that lead to the

Greater sum of the parts


Mendel Jacobson is a writer, poet and journalist living in Brooklyn. His weekly poetry can be seen at

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.