Parashat Vayetzei – Erev Shabbat 2 December 2022 (5783)
Week of 27 November – 03 December 2022
Torah portion: Gen 28 :10-32 :3 Haftarah: Hos 12 :13-14 :10
Theme: Climb together with God!
“I am God, the God of your father Abraham and the God of your father Isaac. I will give you and your seed the land where you are sleeping. And your seed will be like the dust of the earth and will scatter in all directions, and through you all the families of the earth will be blessed. I am with you and will keep you. I will not leave you until I have fulfilled what I promised” (Gen. 28:13-15). These are the words that God addressed in the famous story of Jacob’s dream when he slept on Mount Moriah, the same mountain where his grandfather’s Abraham and Isaac would have demonstrated to the whole world how far human obedience can go and where the Temple of God would be built in the future Solomon’s Temple.
The location is not a coincidence, but on the way to his exile, Jacob would need to stop there, as well as his ancestors to gather the necessary strength to face the exile that would come. In the vision, Jacob saw angels of God descending and ascending the ladder. This vision confirmed God’s protective presence and blessing in his life. The episode takes place shortly after he deceived his father, Isaac, and received a patriarchal blessing instead of his brother Esau. Esau was enraged by what Jacob had done, and he pledged to kill him as soon as his father died. In this context Jacob was sent to his uncle Laban’s house in Padan-Haran until his brother’s hatred passed (Gen. 27). In this way, Jacob has the vision on a very difficult and complicated occasion in his personal life, he had to flee from his parents’ house because his brother wanted to kill him; but he was also going to a house where his uncle was ready to exploit him.
His dream teaches us some lessons: Firstly, it teaches us that God fulfills his purpose despite human failure. Secondly, the vision of Jacob’s ladder teaches us about God’s personal involvement in the affairs of the earth, with special attention to what concerns the lives of his people; God takes care of his children! Thirdly, the sequence of events after the vision of Jacob’s ladder teaches us that serving God does not mean having an easy life, quite the contrary, in the following years of experience with God, Jacob faced many tribulations.
Many times, the protective presence of God does not free us from the affliction but comforts us and gives us strength to continue. Every day of our lives we are also invited to climb this ladder that leads us to God, sometimes we will advance some steps and sometimes go back, but in the certainty that God walks with us, even if He is often silent.
For Reflection and Discussion: 1. What is your experience of God’s protective Presence? 2. Recall one experience of God “writing straight on the crooked lines in your life”.
Bibliography: McKenzie, J.L. Dictionary of the Bible (New York: 1965)
This week’s Parasha Commentary was prepared by
Nayon Nigel Cezar, NDS, Israel, Bat kol Contributor.