This morning I woke up with a thought that inspired me.
The parshah begins saying that when Yaakov was on his way out of Israel he encountered “the place.” Rashi takes note of the definite article. He says it reminds us of when Avraham went to do the binding of Isaac, it says that he saw “the place from a distance.”
Both Avraham and Yaakov were setting out on life changing courses. For Avraham his entire life had been leading up to that moment. he saw the goal from a distance. he did not know how he was going to reach his goal. he didn’t know how long the journey would be, and he did not know what obstacles would stand in his way.
But the whole time he saw the destination from a distance. He always had the end game in mind.
Yaakov lived a completely different life up until this moment. He was grew up in Yitzchak’s home and probably had all kinds of ideas about what he wanted to accomplish.
Then suddenly that was all radically changed. He know longer saw the place he was headed.
And then suddenly, boom. vayifgah bamakom. He literally bumped into the place. It just hit him.
Rashi even says that it is as if the place itself was running towards him and he and his destiny collided.
It is important to plan like Avraham, but be open to circumstances like Yaakov. Have the destination in mind, but sometimes (read often) things don’t go according to plan. But if we always continue to travel based on our principles, then Hashem has his ways of making the goal bump into us when we least expect it.