Parsha Vayetzei: Bereshith/Genesis 28:10 - 32:2
A couple of weeks ago, we talked about how our forefather Yitshaq (Isaac) showed us how to stay focused in our busy, crazy world. He taught us to stop in the middle of the day and get our thoughts in order by doing an afternoon prayer.
In this week’s Torah portion, Parsha Vayetzei, Yitshaq’s son Ya’aqob (Jacob) teaches us how to make it through the dark moments in life that we all face at some point.
We pick up the reading with Ya'aqob fleeing to Haran. He deceived his father, stole the blessings meant for his brother Esau, and then had to flee when Esau sought to kill him in revenge.
On the way to Haran, Ya’aqob stopped for the night and had a vision of a ladder that reached to Heaven. This place was Beth El, the House of Elohim. Ya’aqob had this vision after the sun set, at night. This instituted our evening/nighttime prayer (maariv).
Ya’aqob had his vision when he was at one of the low points of his life. He was already fleeing for his life, and now he was getting ready to go down to an even lower point - to dwell in a land that did not know or recognize Elohim, working 20 years for a corrupt uncle. Ya’aqob’s vision at night was preparing him to make it through one of the darkest times in his life.
Faith in the Night
We all experience dark moments in life. These are the times when the light of YAH’s Presence seems to be 'absent.' We don’t see Him as clearly, and without His Light, we can’t see our situation clearly either.
It’s in the dark moments that we have to use emunah - faith, belief.
We don’t need belief in the day because we can see clearly. When YAH’s Presence is evident in our life, we don’t need as much faith to know He’s there. We see Him. We experience His blessings outright.
But in the dark moments, we don’t ‘see’ Him. All we see is the troubling and distressing situations that the adversary sets before our eyes. It takes more belief to know that YAHUAH is still Master, still in control, and still with us.
It’s these dark moments that often cause us to stumble. Our belief falters, and we ask, “Why is this happening to me?” “If I’m in YAH and walking in the truth, then why am I going through this?”
Sometimes, we believers forget who we are. We are Yisra’el, the descendants of Ya’aqob.
Ya’aqob endured trials unlike his father and grandfather. Ya’aqob struggled in the ‘real’ world. Surrounded by unbelievers. Slaving to make a living. Working for a corrupt boss. Watching his back for someone out to get him. Getting lied to over and over again.
If he went through all that, are we really going to be immune to trials?
Nope. We’re going to have to endure just as he did.
Yisrael is the nation that is close to YAHUAH. It takes belief to grow close to Him, and belief is made in the night.
Have you ever prayed and asked YAH to draw you closer to Him? Have you ever prayed for Him to strengthen your belief?
Then those trials, believe it or not, just may be the answer to your prayers. The trials strengthen our belief, and our belief brings us closer to YAHUAH. The nights are necessary for our spiritual growth.
Morning Will Come
In our trials, we have to follow Ya’aqob and remember his vision in the night. Remember that we have to stay connected to YAHUAH above.
Even in the dark moments, the ladder to Heaven is still present. We are still connected to Him even if we don’t see evidence of His Presence with our natural eyes. When we pray, He dispatches His messengers to help us, and at any moment, His deliverance can come.
Pray through the night with the certainty that day is going to come.
Ya’aqob knew that things would change. After his vision, he made a vow - to build the House of Elohim and to give YAHUAH the tithe. At that point, Ya’aqob was fleeing for his life without a clue of what to expect ahead of him.
Yet, even in this moment of trouble and uncertainty, he knew that YAH was and would remain his Elohim. He could make a vow because he knew that his Elohim would protect him and see him through whatever situation he would face. He knew he’d be able to keep his vow.
That certainty is the key. We all pray when we have trouble, but we have to pray with the certainty - the belief - that day will come.
When you’re in your darkest moments, look Above and remember that your Elohim is still your Elohim, and He will bring you to the day.
In the beginning, evening and morning was the first day. First night, and then the daylight.
When night comes, know that a new day has already begun. YAH is already bringing you to a new place in Him. The morning will come, and then you will ‘see’ the new day. His Presence will be made evident.
Just as we began the habit of praying in the afternoon like Yitshaq, now we can begin (or strengthen) our habit of praying at night, after the sun sets. This will strengthen us and teach us to pray through the dark moments of life - to pray with the certainty that the day will come.
Remember: it’s already a new day...we just have to make it through the night.
Belief through the night will bring the Light.