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Moses appointed twelve emissaries to scout out the Holy Land and return with a report. The representative for the tribe of Ephraim was Moses’ primary disciple, Joshua. Until this time, the lad’s name was Oshua. But Moses added a letter to his name and called him Joshua.
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Home » Vayishlach

Vayishlach: G-d is in the Detail

Submitted by on December 5, 2005 – 5:40 pmNo Comment | 2,122 views

Two Interpretations

In the course of preparing himself for battle with his brother Esau, Jacob evacuated his family to the far banks of the river Yabok. After they had been safely settled the Torah tells us that Jacob “Remained alone.” There are two interpretations to these words, which together add a significant new meaning to the sentence.

One commentary is that Jacob returned to the riverbanks to retrieve several small and insignificant items that were inadvertently left behind. He was left alone meaning without a truly significant purpose.

The other commentary follows a more mystical route by arguing that Jacob returned to the riverbanks in order to be with He who is truly alone. Alone, for he has no peers, meaning the Almighty G-d.

Divergent Paths to a Single Truth

At first glance the two arguments sound contradictory. Either Jacob returned for an insignificant reason or he returned to be with G-d, the most significant of all reasons.

However, upon reflection we realize that the two are intimately linked. For he who is truly connected to G-d, attributes mystical value even to insignificant items and is never willing to abandon them. G-d is in the detail. After all, if G-d saw it fit to create them, why should we reject them?


If we truly connect ourselves to the heavens above we will have the patience and ability to swim in the murky waters of insignificance below, yet emerge vibrant and unaffected.