“The Lord is my rock, my fortress.”
Did you notice how many times a rock was part of the story in Vayetzei?
Jacob takes a rock for a pillow. Jacob uses the rock as an altar.
Jacob sees a rock on the well. Jacob singlehandedly moves the rock for Rachel. Jacob uses a rock to mark a treaty with Laban. Jacob instructs the people around him to gather rocks.
To me, a rock is the opposite of life and creativity. Rocks are hard, and heavy, and they can weigh us down. Rocks are often dark and drab. Rocks are ubiquitous and completely dead.
If we don’t make great effort to push against the weight of the rock, we won’t be able to reach our dreams, find love, or make peace. The natural state of things is not to accomplish our greatest aspirations, nor is it to love selflessly, nor is it to be at peace. These are the things we do when we are able to transcend the rock.
We need not abandon the rock. Even the most earthly of things can be used for the greatest achievements. The rock can be an anchor for dreams, love, and peace. We can build dreams, love, and peace on a foundation of bedrock. We elevate the rock with these meaningful pursuits.
But we will not reach our dreams and we will not discover true love and we will not forge lasting peace easily. It takes work and effort. It takes hard work. Hard like a rock. It takes a lot to make those things strong and powerful. We need rocklike fortitude to reach our aspirations. We must be steady as a rock in our relationships to experience lasting love. To create long term peace, our commitment must be as firm as a rock.
Vayetzei is a parsha about dreams, love, and peace. And the rock.
BONUS FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
Rock in Hebrew is ehven (aleph, bet, nun). Another prominent theme in Vayeitzei is sons. We read about the birth of Jacob’s sons. Laban’s sons also make an important appearance. Son in Hebew is ben (bet, nun). The bad guy in the story is Laban (lamed, bet, nun). Again, the bet and nun appear. Rock is son plus aleph. Laban is son plus lamed.
What this means? Not sure yet. You tell me…