Friday, November 23, 2012

Parshat Vayaitzay -- pushing ourselves up the ladder

This week’s parsha, Vayaitzay, discusses the famous dream prophetic dream Yaakov had of the ladder.

On Yaakov’s journey, fleeing from Aisev, then studying in a yeshiva for fourteen years, Yaakov was now on his way to find a wife. His journey continued to Charan. When he arrived to Charan, he realized that he had passed Mount Moriah, the place his father and grandfather had stopped to pray to Hashem. Distressed that he did not stop and pray, he decided to go all the way back to pray! What dedication!

This was of course Hashem’s plan in the works, He wanted Yaakov to go back to Mount Moriah, because of the kedusha-holiness-at Mount Moriah, Yaakov was able to have intense prophecy.

When Yaakov went to sleep, Hashem revealed Himself to him in a dream. The purpose of the dream was to strengthen Yaakov, he was being chased by Aisev (because Yaakov had stolen Aisev’s birthright blessing) and was robbed by his nephew, I imagine his morale was lower than usual. The dream was meant to show Yaakov that despite the hardships he was currently facing, Hashem was there to guide him now and in the future.

Details of the dream:

A ladder extended from the earth to the Heavens, and an angel was climbing up and down it. The angel climbed seventy rungs and then fell (foreshadowing the seventy years the Jews would be exiled in Babylonia). Yaakov knew that after seventy years of exile, the Jewish people would be liberated by Hashem.

The next angel climbed fifty-two rungs, the fell, foreshadowing the Median exile of fifty-two years.

The third angel climbed up a hundred and twenty steps and fell, foreshadowing the length of the Greek exile.

Finally, the last angel, of Edom, our current exile, the angel continued higher and higher up the ladder, appearing to ascent even into the Heavens! Yaakov thought this last exile would persist forever; however, Hashem assured him that it WOULD in fact end.

In life, we too are climbing up an endless ladder, trying to make it to the top. At times we may feel that we will never get there, but rather we will crumble to the bottom. As we persevere to the top, facing much strife, wanting to give up many times, we must always continue to find Hashem’s guiding voice in the back of our heads, telling us, we WILL in fact make it to the top! The effort must be continuous, despite the many setbacks we may face. When the day finally comes, when we taste the glory awaiting us at the top of the ladder, we will know with certainty that all the fighting and struggling served its rightful purpose and we became better people and better Jews because of it.

Shabbot Shalom! May Hashem bless us all with the courage and grace to keep persevering to the top, where we can actualize our fullest potential in this world!

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