וַיִּשְׁכַּב בַּמָּקוֹם הַהוּא

…and he lay down in that place

Rashi tells us that by specifying that Yaakov laid down “in that place”, the Torah is letting us know that it was there that Yaakov finally laid down, but he had not laid down in the previous fourteen years he spent learning in the Yeshiva of Shem and Ever.

Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz notes that even this “lying down” spoken of here wasn’t sleeping on a comfortable king sized bed with big pillows and soft blankets, but on a rock. When the Torah implies that he hadn’t laid down in fourteen years that means he hadn’t laid down even on a rock in all those years. This seems quite miraculous, yet Rabbi Chaim writes that there was no miracle, nor was Yaakov from a different species than we are, he simply used all of his available energy. We are all familiar with this, we hear stories of people in desperate situations, where suddenly someone uses superhuman strength. This adrenaline rush comes when out of desperation, one subconsciously decides to use all of their strength

The Chafetz Chaim similarly explains the passuk in Tehillim where David Hamelech writes “I rejoiced over your words like one who finds a great treasure.” A simple explanation would be that he was simply excited. The Chafetz Chaim, however, writes that David Hamelech was saying that just like if someone was given a limited amount of time to collect from a large treasure, he would not rest for a moment no matter how tired he was, so too, he would study Torah with a similar vigor.

Later, when Yaakov met Rachel by the local well, Rachel was waiting for all the shepherds to come so they could collectively remove the heavy protective stone cover. Yaakov single-handedly removed it. One might think he was simply very strong, but there’s an opinion that says that he “put his heart into it” and did it. It seems again that he was able to control himself to the degree that he was able to give himself an adrenaline boost when necessary, something we can all strive for.

Shabbat Shalom

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