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  • Yehuda Pevzner

Pact Not Made

Jacob left Be'er Sheva and headed towards Charan, to his uncle Laban's home. The Torah previously told us that Jacob was in Be’er Sheva. Why does the Torah repeat itself?

The Midrash explains that Sheva is also the Hebrew word for “swear”. Jacob, unlike his father and grandfather, did not want to swear to King Abimelech, and therefore “departed” from the swearing.

Abraham and Isaac both made a pact with King Abimelech that they wouldn’t bother one another. Why didn’t Jacob do the same? And conversely, if it was wrong, why did Abraham and Isaac do it?

As explained previously, each of our forefathers had a different mission in life. Abraham and Isaac were both working in the world, ignoring the bad, not letting it affect them; Abraham by adding good, and Isaac by avoiding the bad. Jacob’s job was to work with the evil of the world, conquer it, and illuminate it with the light of G-d. We see this by the fact that he lived in Charan, the lowest part of the world, for 14 years, and emerged righteous.

Jacob understood how making a pact with King Abilemech to avoid evil would only delay and push off his mission, and therefore chose not to.

And our mission? We need to do all 3; add in goodness, avoid the temptations of the world, and work with our surroundings to elevate them to holiness.

Let’s light up the world by lighting the Shabbat candles, before 4:11 PM.

Shabbat Shalom!


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