VaYetze | And He Went Out

The portion, VaYetze (And Jacob Went Out), begins with Jacob leaving Beer Sheba and heading for Haran. He stops for the night and in his dream he sees a ladder “set up on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven; and behold the angels of G-d ascending and descending on it” (Genesis, 28:12).

Ramban: In a prophetic dream, G-d showed Jacob that whatever is down on earth is effected by means of the angels. And that everything is done by decree given to them by the Supreme One. “For He will give His angels charge over you, to keep thee in all your ways”. (Psalms 91:11).

Finding Comfort in Jacob’s Ladder:

“A ladder stood on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven ( Gen 28:12)”

“This is prayer.”

Tikkunei Zohar 43

“And he dreamed, and behold! A ladder set up on the ground and its top reached to heaven; and behold, angels of G-d were ascending and descending upon it.” (Gen. 28:12)


The parsha(Va’yeitzi) contains one of the more interesting “dreams” found in Scripture – “Jacob’s Ladder” (Gen 28:12-15).

Some points:

A) There were two sets of angels, one set ascending, the other descending. These were the angels accompanying Jacob.

B) There were but four angels, each representing one of the kingdoms that would come to oppress Israel (Babylon, Media, Greece and Rome). The number of “steps” they walked on the ladder indicated the amount of time they would struggle with Israel.

C) The angels were coming down to “have a look” at the earthly Jacob (in comparison to the heavenly/spiritual Jacob they were “acquainted” with.

D) The ladder and angels represent the “lower” spiritual world (Yetzirah) that exists between physical earth and the higher spiritual world ( Beriah or Heaven/Heavens) above. The angels moving up and down show their role as messengers in carrying out the will of G-d in earthly affairs.

Yeshua and Nathanael – In John 1:44-51

  • Yeshua making a prophetic revelation• Nathanael makes a declaration of faith in Yeshua, as the Son of Most High.

    • In response Nathanael, Yeshua informs him that he will have continued and greater revelation.

    • Yeshua points Nathanael’s relationship to G-d, and his forthcoming greater understanding, directly to Jacob’s dream, revealing Himself to be that ladder;

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of G-d ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” (John 1:51)


Jacob referred to the ladder as a “gate of heaven.” This is considered an allusion to the Temple (“Bet El” = House of G-d – 28:18).. Yeshua referred to himself a gate (or door) and proclaimed himself to be “greater than the Temple.”



Genesis 28:10 – 32:3 ; Genesis 22:14, 24:63; Genesis 28:17, 28:19

Haftarah Portion


Hosea 11:7-12:12 ;

Hosea 12:13-14:10 ; Micah 7:18

Proverbs 24:17

Ha-Berit ha-Hadashah


John 1:19-2:12 ; Matthew 3:13–4:11

Luke 1:9 ; Revelation 22:9

Revelation 8 : 3 ; Revelation 5 : 8

John 6:27, 33 ; John 6:62

John 3:14; 8:28;12:23, 34; 13:31


The portion, VaYetze (And Jacob Went Out), begins with Jacob leaving Beer Sheba and heading for Haran. He stops for the night and in his dream he sees a ladder “set up on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven; and behold the angels of G-d ascending and descending on it” (Genesis, 28:12).

The Creator appears before him and promises him that the earth on which he is lying will be his, that he will have many sons, and that He will watch over him. The next morning, Jacob sets up a monument in that place and calls it, Beit El (House of G-d).

In the words of the Talmud (Pesachim 88a): Said Rabbi Elazar: What does Isaiah mean when he says, “And many peoples will go and say, ‘Come let us go up to the Mountain of G-d to the HOUSE of the G-d of Jacob!’” ? Why the G-d of Jacob and not the G-d of Abraham and Isaac? The answer is: Not like Abraham, who saw it as a Mountain (“as it is said this day, On the Mountain HaVaYaH is seen” — Genesis22:14). And not like Isaac, for whom it was a Field (“And Isaac went out to meditate in the Field” — Genesis 24:63). But like Jacob, who called it a House: “And he called the name of that place Beth El, the House of G-d” (Genesis 28:19) .

The Midrash Rabbah goes on to connect the Ladder to the Temple. The Temple is the place (makom) where Heaven and Earth connect. Noting the parallels through the principle of gezerah shavah, the Midrash says, “Bar Kappara taught: No dream is without its interpretation. AND BEHOLD A LADDER symbolizes the stairway; SET UPON THE EARTH-the altar, as it says, An altar of earth thou shalt make unto Me (Exodus 20:21); AND THE TOP OF IT REACHED TO HEAVEN-the sacrifices, the odor of which ascended to heaven; AND BEHOLD THE ANGELS OF G-D – the High Priests; ASCENDING AND DESCENDING ON IT – ascending and descending the stairway. AND, BEHOLD, THE LORD STOOD BESIDE HIM (XXVIII, 13)-I saw the Lord standing beside the altar (Amos 9:1)”

Genesis Rabbah 68:12, Soncino Press Edition

The term Makom itself also one of the names of HaShem, “And he arrived at the place:” Why is G-d called Makom? Because He is the place of the world and the world is not His place.” -Yalqut Shimoni Vayetze, Remez 117,

Baal HaTurim, R’ Yaakov ben Asher, builds upon this,“The gematria of ???? ??? “And behold! A ladder” is equivalent to the gematria of the phrase ?? ???? ????? “This refers to the Altar of the Olah-offering”; the letters of ???? ?????, “And behold! angels”, can be rearranged to spell ??? ??????, “these are the Kohanim”, for it is they who ascend and descend the ramp of the Altar. . .

Baal HaTurim on Genesis 28:12, Mesorah Publishers pg. 251

“R’ Leazer said in the name of R. Jose b. Zimra: This ladder stood in Beersheba and [the top of] its slope was over the Temple. What is the proof? And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, etc.-AND HE WAS AFRAID, AND SAID: HOW FULL OF AWE IS THIS PLACE. R. Judah b. R. Simon said: This ladder stood on the Temple site, while [the top of] its slope was over Beth-el.” – Genesis Rabbah 69:7, Soncino Press Edition

The Rabbis related it to Sinai. AND HE DREAMED, AND BEHOLD A LADDER symbolizes Sinai; SET UPON THE EARTH. as it says, And they stood at the nether part of the mount (Ex. 19:17); AND THE TOP OF IT REACHED TO HEAVEN-And the mountain burned with fire unto the heart of heaven (Deut. 4:11). AND BEHOLD THE ANGELS OF G-D alludes to Moses and Aaron. ASCENDING: ‘And Moses went up to God (Ex. 19:3)’; AND DESCENDING-And Moses went down from the mount (ib. 14). AND, BEHOLD, THE LORD STOOD BESIDE HIM-And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai (ib. 20).” -Genesis Rabbah 68:12, Soncino Press Edition

This vision was like that given to Avram at the time of the covenant “between the parts” for He showed Jacob the dominion of the 4 Kingdoms of Greece, Persia, Babylon, and Edom.

“The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.” (Psalm 34:7)

Interestingly, it is also linked to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and the Four Kingdoms. Each kingdom shall rise and fall, explains the Midrash, but Yaakov-Israel will ascend but not descend.

“According to the Midrash, this ladder had four rungs. . . Yaakov drew divine energy down through all four hierarchical channels of the upper realms, known in Kabbalah as the worlds of Atzilus (Emanations), Beriyah (Creation), Yetzirah (Formation), and Asiyah (Action). With this explanation in mind, an obscure Midrash suddently becomes clear. The Midrash says that the “angels from G-d were going up and down,” not “upon it” (Hebrew having no gender-neutral pronoun) but “upon him,” on Yaakov himself. Yaakov, through his deeds, regulates the Divine flow from above, the angels go up and down on him, by him and for him. He is the ladder.” -The Essential Malbim, Parashas Vayeitzei, Mesorah Publishing Ltd., 229-230

‘And he encountered the place (28:11)’

“The place” is Mount Moriah, the “Temple Mount” in Jerusalem, where Abraham had bound Isaac upon the altar and where King Solomon would erect the Holy Temple.” -Rashi on Genesis 28:11

Jacob in Jewish mysticism refers to the Sefirah Tiferet, which is the heart of Zeir Anpin, the Holy Son. One Midrash says,

“…there were twelve steps leading to the top of the ladder, and on each step to the top there were two human faces, one on the right and on the left, twenty-four faces…Jacob not only saw the ladder and the angels, but when he peered up to the top of the ladder he saw the face of a man, carved out of fire, peering down at him. So too did Jacob see G-d fashioning the heavenly Temple with his own hands out of jewels and pearls and the radiance of the Shekhinah. . . .Then Jacob peered into the highest heaven and saw God’s throne. He saw that there was a face carved into the throne, and that face that Jacob saw there was his own…” -Tree of Souls, Howard Schwartz, Oxford University Press, pg. 358

As Jacob ascended the Ladder, his image became transformed. He became the earthly reflection of the heavenly reality.

According to the Kol HaTor, the Ladder links to Mashiach ben Yosef

“A ladder was set on the Land and its top reached to Heaven” (Gen. 28:12) – This is a quality of Yosef as known.”

Kol HaTor 2:97, Translated by R’ Yechiel bar Lev

Yeshua reveals the secret of the word ‘BO’, on him, that is hidden in Genesis. He identifies the word “him” as referring himself!

“He said to him, “Amein, I tell you, hereafter you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” -John 1:51

Yeshua identifies himself as the Door or Gate in the book of John,

“I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved, and will go in and go out, and will find pasture.” -John 10:9

It is Yeshua who is the Gate, the Conduit, the Ladder, the Connection between Heaven and Earth, the Link between Infinite Light and Finite Matter.

As the Zohar says, the Ladder is “prayer” which is the connection between Heaven and Earth.

Our prayers and blessings and everyday doing commandments and holy actions send by “angels” ASCENDING upwards and angels of blessing who DESCEND into this world and into our personal/community life.



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