“Vayeshev, And Jacob sat in the land of his father’s sojournings…”
Ah, Jacob sat. Or as most translate, Jacob dwelt. But for the meditative among us, this opening line can be read as a lovely little hint to sitting in meditation. Jacob is finally winding down years of frenzied activity and is ready to taste some much-deserved introspection and tranquility.
Just contrast this parsha title with the last two: Vayeitze and Vayishlach - “Jacob went out” and “Jacob sent over”. Both of these active verbs punctuate his dramatic tale of a murderous brother, greedy Uncle, nuptial dupings, and on and on. Finally, it seems that Jacob has returned to his homeland to enjoy some serenity.
Yes, that serenity will be shattered a few short paragraphs away with the “death” of his beloved Joseph. But for now, for this moment, Jacob sits. Jacob seeks serenity. And, who knows, maybe it was this one-verse worth of retreat from activity that will help him respond to the traumas to come. Maybe it is this sitting which will help him better endure - and better celebrate - whatever will be.
Finally found the serenity of
furled out beneath me,
terra ferma, nothing fancy,
but a marble carpet of quiet
in this once-livid living room.
All frenzy finally quelled
as a book of braille
that will not be read aloud today.
I am too busy
I am too busy being