Vayetze – God is in that place too
by Jhos Singer
This week’s Torah Portion is “Vayetze” which details the story of Jacob’s hasty departure from his parental homestead. He basically creates a situation with his family that forces him to skedaddle, and the first night out he has an incredible dream encounter with God. He wakes up the next morning, and he said: ‘Surely there is God in this place, and I, I didn’t know. (Genesis 28:16).
It is an incredible moment, in no small part because it is so unexpected. Jacob is way way way out of his comfort zone. He has basically trashed his life, and has no idea what the future might bring. Alone, scared and away from all support and creature comfort, he is broken open. Exactly the right conditions for the launch of his spiritual journey.
Lately, there has been so much distressing news globally, nationally and locally. So, I thought maybe we could all just take a moment or two to remember that even when the walls seem to be crashing around our ankles, God is in that place too.
So, basic and straight up, here’s a 7 point, power meditation to help prepare for Shabbat by tapping into the God-is-in-this-place zeitgeist:
- Right now, stop whatever you are doing and take a huge, big, wonderful, life affirming breath.
- OK, now put your hand on your heart and feel the miracle of its beat.
- Remember, you are the only one of you that has ever, or will ever exist, so take good care of yourself.
- Promise to give yourself a little time off between sunset tonight and sunsettomorrow—even if it’s just repeating #1 a few times.
- Commit to being amazed, because hard to remember as it may be at times, God really is here, in this place, right now. Here are some places to look for evidence of this simple fact:
- The sky—day or night.
- Weeds that grow between the cracks in the sidewalk.
- Babies toes.
- A smiling human face.
- Bi-pedal upright locomotion.
- That caterpillar into a butterfly thing.
- River rocks.
- Birds—they fly, they sing, they come in pretty colors.
- Love, in just about any form.
- Now, calm, in awe and committed to wonder: imagine life as a huge net, each one of us a point of connection, each person the result of two other people who, for better or worse, tied their DNA together into the unique knot that is you.
- And finally, take this in: you, and only you can hold together, with some unrepeatable combination of tension and give, your part of the net. You keep it strong and flexible enough to catch the light and laughter, love and laments that keep this story going.
May we enter this shabbes knowing that God is, indeed, in this place.