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Jacob's Ladder

R Pesach Siegel

Parshat Vayetze

Nov 8, 2013

Parshas VaYeitzei 5774

 

Hashem expresses His will from the heavens and when we follow His wishes on this earth we thereby reveal Hashem in this world. By doing so, the two worlds, the spiritual and the physical, join together.

 

When Adam HaRishon sinned, he caused a rift in Hashem’s world. Down here, in Olam Hazeh, there was another agenda. It is not Hashem who rules, chas veshalom.

 

The parshiyos in Sefer Breishis describe the process of repairing the damage and sealing the rift between Hashem’s world and ours.

 

In this week’s parshah, Yaakov Avenu dreamt. He saw a vision of a ladder. The ladder was firmly planted on the ground. It extended towards the heavens. There were angels on top of the ladder. As Yaakov slept, Hashem watched over him.

 

 Our sages tell us that Yaakov’s dream represents the different parts of creation. Hashem acts out His will through His messengers, the mal’achim. They, in turn affect the world by interacting with the heavenly bodies. The heavenly bodies bring life and light to the lower world.

 

Rabeinu Bachaye describes Yaakov’s dream as the creation of the world from afresh.

The world that Hashem created in the time of Breishis came apart. Yaakov Avenu is instrumental in bringing all the segments of the world together in one harmonious purpose – to reconnect to Hashem.

 

The Torah informs us that the former name of the place called Beis El is Luz. Why is this important for us to know?

 

When a dead body decomposes, there is one bone that remains intact. It is a small bone in the spinal column. At the time of techiyas hamaysim, the body is reconstructed and it is rejoined with its soul. The reconstruction begins with this small bone. The name of this bone is the Luz bone.

 

What transpires in this week’s parshah is the techiyas hamaysim of the world. The lower world is reconnected to shamayim, thus rejoining the body of the world with its soul.

 

This is why it took place in a city once known as Luz.

 

The middah of Yaakov Avenu is the middah of emmes, as the posuk says, “Titayn emmes li’Yaakov.” Translating emmes as “truth” is woefully inadequate. Emmes means all encompassing, a sense of completion and totality. There is no part, talent, capability, or strength of Yaakov that went to waste. All of Yaakov was focused on the one central purpose that he was created for. There was no need for him to subject himself to deep introspection, sifting out the good from the bad. Even the lower aspects of Yaakov, “the bad”, were good. He found a use for all. Even small jugs were of significance in his eyes.

 

He was the one who instituted the ma’ariv prayer. This is the prayer that is offered in the dark night. The middah of Yaakov is to connect the world, even at its most unproductive point, to the heavens.

 

When Yaakov Avenu slept on the hallowed ground of the future Bais HaMikdash, he restored the world back to its former pristine splendor. His presence, prayers, and even his slumber, were all catalysts to reconnect the lowest parts of creation to the heavens above.

 

He was shown a vision of a great ladder spanning from the heavens above and the world below. This ladder was heretofore a broken link. It was repaired at the moment Yaakov Avenu was brought to that spot.

 

He was not shown a pre-existing ladder. He was shown the ladder of his own making.

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