The location of Yaakov’s Ladder: The Temple Mount in Jerusalem
This week’s Torah Parasha is called VAYEITZE. We find it in the Book of Genesis (Sefer Bereshit) 28:10-31:3.
Yaakov is running away from the revenge of his brother Esav. He destination is Haran (Syria) where his mother’s family lives. On his way from Beershave to Haran, Yaakov is going to sleep at a place he later names “House of G-d (Beit E-l). While asleep, he has the famous dream about the ladder where angels are going up and down. The next morning, he continues his way to Haran where he meets Rachel and falls in love with her. We all know about Lavan cheating on Yaakov and instead of marrying Rachel, he ends of with Leah. However, Yaakov realizes that this must have been his destiny, as G-d doesn’t reject his marriage.
For more than twenty years, Yaakov worked for Lavan and finally made his way home to Israel.
Now we could think that this sounds like a romantic love story where only Lavan and Leah seem to be out of place. A nice young meets a great girl and is falling in love. He wants to marry her in order to be with her for the rest of his life.
Maybe I am destroying all your fantasies by telling you that Yaakov was anything but a young guy. Most sources describe him as a 63-year-old man. The famous book “Pirke’i de’Rabbi Eliezer”, Chapter 35, states that Yaakov was 77 years old. So, this doesn’t really sound too romantic but rather like an elderly guy is running after a young girl. 🙂
What the Parasha is, among many others things, teaching us:
That someone with hardly any money in his pocket still has a chance in life and can accomplish a lot. One has to be willing to work hard and advance in life. Yaakov never sat down and started complaining but always continued his life. No matter what. He just knew that G-d is with him and that everything must be for the good.
The Ramchal (Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, 1707-1746) comments that the ladder in the dream alludes to the strong connection between the upper and lower worlds G-d sustains and protects. G-d wanted to show Yaakov that His providence is on all Creation at all times. Nothing is by chance. This is the greatest consolation a person can receive in difficult situations. And this is what gives a person hope and the strength to continue in life.
Especially Yaakov never had an easy life. First the dispute with his brother Esav, then Lavan’s wheelings and dealings, and his sons sold his beloved son Yosef to the Ishmaelites.
In Jerusalem, Shabbat begins tomorrow afternoon at 4.02 pm. Shabbat ends at 5.16 pm on Saturday night.
Shabbat Shalom-Gut Schabbes