Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Vayetzei - 5773
U-TURNS ACCORDING TO THE GPS
My GPS has never recommended (or, if you set it to speak in an authoritative British Accent, ordered) a U-turn. When I miss an exit, my electronic guide presents a lengthy roundabout to get back on track. It seems that U-turns must be initiated by humans.
According to the Talmud, Yaakov on his way to Haran, passed the location of the future temple without stopping. When he reached Haran, he said to himself “is it possible that I passed through the place where my fathers prayed and not have prayed too?” He immediately resolved to return to the Makom Hamikdash.
We are often taught to “appreciate what we have before it becomes something we had.” At times a person can be doing something extremely important and valuable, and yet chronically doubt themselves several times a minute. We must teach others and ourselves to recognize good, and when we are indeed involved in such acts, give ourselves the credit due.
The first time Yaakov, passed the Makom Hamikdash (a place where his father was bound on an altar) he did not feel an urge to pray. Perhaps at that moment he did not appreciate the value of the place. Only after leaving Eretz Yisrael, and undoubtedly feeling a spiritual void, did he come to an understanding that he missed something quite valuable by ignoring the sacred terrain of Mount Moriah. As a result of what he sensed, he made an important U-turn, and merited to receive his own GPS- Gods Personal Surveillance.