The portion of Vayeitzei begins with an extraordinary vision experienced by the Jewish patriarch Jacob — “Yaakov Avinu”.
As part of that vision, God reassures Jacob that He will always be at his side, ensuring that he is protected from any harm.
And yet, as soon as Jacob awakens from the vision, he is gripped by fear and anxiety. Similarly, when he returns to his homeland twenty years later, Jacob is very fearful, certain of his impending doom despite God’s reassurances.
Rather than seeing this fearfulness as a lack of faith, the Midrash refers to Jacob as the choice patriarch of the three patriarchs, the archetype foundation mentor for the Jewish nation.
Rabbi Dunner explores the source material, and offers a number of insights into Jacob’s unique characteristics and circumstances that catapulted him into a status that surpassed the status of both his father and grandfather.