פרשת וישלח

God parted from him at the spot where He had spoken to him

God revealed to Jacob that he required further clarification [concerning the sale of Joseph], thus “God parted from him.” It is as if Jacob still needed to cleave to God.
At the spot where He had spoken to him,” The same language of spoken to him is employed elsewhere in reference to money, and it is in this matter [of money] that Jacob requires further clarification, for he was not yet entirely at peace [with what is to come].

Similarly with Abraham, the Torah states (Genesis 17:22), “And when he was done speaking with him, God was gone from Abraham,” which occurred after the episode of circumcision. Even though Abraham still had to be tested with the Binding of Isaac, the text does not state “at the spot where He had spoken to him,” for he was ready to move on to an altogether different divine test.

 

(This time more than others I truly hope I understand what the Ishbitzer is trying to tell us, but no promises)
Why does the text need to mention the detail about where God left from? When speaking to Abraham, the Torah did not find it necessary to mention it – just that God left him post-prophecy. The Ishbitzer is trying to get us to see that Jacob still had more to do in himself. He was not yet ready to accept what God had said, and believe that everything would be for the good. He needed to go through the painful work of confronting the sell/loss of Joseph and somehow remain a person of unwaivering faith in God’s promise.

Not so with Abraham. Abraham understood clearly how things were going to play out with Isaac and Ishmael and their respective birthrights, and so he didn’t need God to stick around. Or rather, he didn’t need to keep holding on to God and let Her reveal the depths of this trial. Or, he didn’t need to continue being in constant dialogue with God about how conflicting realities can exist simultaneously in the world, and how to live as a complete person in this complex and paradoxical world.

Jacob needed more time. So it says God left him “at the spot.” Jacob is still in the same place. The trial is the same but the details keep changing. Sometimes we are like Jacob. God is not speaking to us and revealing Herself, but we need to press on with our work anyhow. We need to keep going deeper and working on ourselves until we arrive at that place of inner peace.

Link to the original Hebrew text

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