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Sleep is overrated

Thursday, 19 November, 2015 - 11:03 am

Have you ever worked on a project that prevented you from sleeping? Not that you never actually closed your eyes for the month that you were working on it, but you were so involved that you never WENT to sleep.

This describes the life of Jacob from when he left his father’s house until he returned 34 years later. Except for once, in the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, the Torah tells us: ‘and he laid down there for the sun had set’.

What did Jacob say while he was not sleeping? The Midrash says he would say the 15 psalms that begin A Song of Ascents (Psalms 120-134).

Jacob was so busy he never WENT to sleep. Before he arrived in Charan, he was studying and building the fortitude to not only deal with a contrarian world -  one that is antithetical to G-dliness – but to transform it.

Lavan told Jacob: The daughters are my daughters, and the sons are my sons, and the animals are my animals, and all that you see is mine. Lavan was saying that you can be holy but the youngsters, the teens, the next generation, they are lost, there is no chance that you can engage them and encourage them to make G-d and Judaism a priority in their life. They fall into the category of all that you see is mine.

Yaakov responds: I never went to sleep, I was focusing on the Song of Ascents – G-d will help, they won’t only not be yours, but they are the future tribes of Israel.

For example; Psalm 121
A song of ascents. I lift my eyes to the mountains—from where will my help come?
How can I effect the next generation? They are so consumed by technology, there is a generation gap – is there any hope?

YES! by remembering that 
My help will come from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.
G-d is in charge (the maker) of this world (earth) and the next (heaven), both the spiritual (heaven) and the physical (earth)

He will not let your foot falter; your guardian does not slumber.
One needs to focus on the mission they were put here for; to reveal G-d’s presence even in a world that is seemingly run by the Lavans of the world - the “swindlers” of the world, and we will not slumber nor will we rest until we accomplish this mission.

Invite a friend over and help them experience the joy of Shabbos.

Have a restful Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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