It had been a wonderful weekend. Shmuli had spent a great deal of time with his cousin Mendy, and they both loved every minute of it.

Shmuli lives in Brooklyn. Mendy’s family is on shlichus in California. The two cousins had not seen each other for a long time. So when Mendy’s father brought him to Crown Heights for the Shluchim Convention, they had a lot to talk about.

The Convention was over all too soon. As Shmuli helped Mendy take his bags out to the car, he said: “I’m really sorry you’re leaving. It’s too bad you don’t live right next door to us.”

“I had a great time here, Shmuli. I’ll miss you, but I don’t feel sorry, and you shouldn’t either,” said Mendy.

“Don’t you wish you didn’t live so far away?” asked Shmuli.

“Actually, no,” replied Mendy. “I feel very lucky to be on shlichus. I’m very proud of all the things my Tatie and Mommy do, and they allow me to help, too. They tell me that I’m a junior shliach. If I lived in Crown Heights, I’d have to wait until I was older before I could go out on shlichus.”

If Mendy’s parents had heard this conversation they would have been just as proud of Mendy as he was of them! He was following the example of Yaakov Avinu, which we read in this week’s parshah, Vayeitzei.

Yaakov left the city of Beer Sheva and traveled to Charan. He left Eretz Yisrael, where his righteous parents Yitzchak and Rivkah lived, and journeyed far away, to a country he had never seen before. He was going to live among people who were very different from him, in a place that did not have the holiness of Eretz Yisrael.

Do you think that Yaakov Avinu journeyed to Charan just because he was running away from Esav? Obviously, there’s a more important reason! HaShem would certainly have protected Yaakov from Esav anywhere in the world. For example, Yaakov spent many years studying in the Yeshivah of Shem and Ever, without having to worry about Esav.

Yaakov journeyed to Charan because he had a job to carry out, and he was ready to do it. He was willing to move away from his home and to teach people about HaShem. He would set a personal example of how a person should live and behave. Yaakov went to Charan on shlichus.

Actually, we are all on shlichus. A Jewish neshamah is pure. It is a part of HaShem. What is it doing in this world where HaShem is hidden?

Our neshamos have a job to perform. We have been sent on shlichus to make this world a dwelling place for HaShem, and to prepare it for the coming of Mashiach.

(Adapted from Sichos Shabbos Parshas Vayeitzei, 5752)