Torah Message from Rabbi Moldovan
Yaakov is on the run from his wild brother Esav, who is on a mission to take revenge upon his sibling. Yaakov spends the night in an open field as Hashem appears to him in a dream and assures him that he will be safe and successful in escaping the clutches of Esav. Upon waking, Yaakov realizes that the innocent field that he had chosen as a bed was actually a very holy place (it was eventually the place of the Beis Hamikdash) such that it warranted a vision of Hashem. He immediately regrets profaning a holy place by sleeping on it. Picture this - Yaakov is fleeing for his life, penniless, and lacking basic food and clothing. Hashem comes to him in a dream and guarantees that he will watch over him and that all will be well. Wouldn't you think he would wake up a happy man with extreme joy and gratitude on his face with this monumental assurance? All of his problems will be taken care of! But, what was Yaakov's initial thought? He censured himself for sleeping at a sacred site! Why? The Alter of Novardok explains that one whose focus is on self-improvement and growth, will constantly check over their behavior to see what needs correction. The only way to resolve issues is to identify them in the first place. The path of growth is littered with consistent analysis of what we have done and where we are headed. Yaakov was clearly happy with the great news he had received from Hashem. But his first thoughts were designated for how he can improve himself and grow as a person. This does not taint the joy of the moment but rather adds to it with the pleasure of knowing that one is going up on the ladder of improvement.