Vayetze | ויצא | “He went out ” – Be’er Sheva represents holy knowledge (Binah)….
-That [spoken] word ascends and pierces the heavens. The Ladder links to a quality of Yosef and also “prayer” which is the connection between Heaven and Earth. There’s an Upper Unity and a Lower Unity – The Upper Unity is the Ladder that connects Heaven and Earth. The Lower Unity are the stones that become one under Yaakov’s head. Messiah brings the whole world to a perfect unity with the Creator and His Holy Word.
–Come let us go up to the Mountain of G-d to the HOUSE of the G-d of Jacob
The seventh reading from the book of Genesis is named Vayetze (ויצא), which means “and he went out.” The first verse of the reading: “And Jacob went out from Beersheba” – Genesis 28:10. 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).
- Jacob dreams of angels going up and down a ladder, And names the place Bethel. – ( Genesis 28:10-22 )
- Jacob works seven years in order to marry Rachel, but Laban tricks Jacob into marrying Leah, Rachel’s older sister. – ( Genesis 29:16-25 )
- Jacob marries Rachel but only after having to commit himself to seven more years of working for Laban. – ( Genesis 29:26-30 )
- Leah, Rachel, and their maidservants, Bilhah and Zilpah, give birth to eleven sons and one daughter. -( Genesis 29:31-30:24 )
- Jacob and his family leave Laban’s household with great wealth. -( Genesis 31:1-32:3)
Went out from Beer-Sheva:
– ”And he Went Out” – Vayetzei – Genesis 28:10.
Zohar writings: “And Jacob went out from Beer-Sheva, and went toward Charan” (Bereshit 28:10). Rabbi Chiya opened the discussion with the verse, “The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to its place where it rises again” (Kohelet 1:5). This verse has been explained. The phrase, “the sun also rises,” refers to Jacob, WHO IS ZEIR ANPIN, when he was in Beer-Sheva, WHICH IS BINAH. The phrase, “and the sun goes down,” refers to Jacob when he went to Charan, THE NUKVA OF ZEIR ANPIN, as it is written, “And tarried there all night, for the sun was set” (Beresheet 28:11).
Be’er Sheva represents holy knowledge (Binah). It’s the place in which the Wisdom of God is explained, as it’s written: “Moses began to explain (heb. Be’er – באר) this Torah” –Deuteronomy 1:5
“Charan” means wrath, strife. It’s in this place that Yaakov beget 11 of the 12 tribes of Israel. Our soul too, in order to reach transcendental significance must descend to Haran, the world conquered by the material and the struggles, with the purpose to build a “dwelling for G-d in the physical world” (cf. Rebbe Schneerson).
The purpose for Jacob’s trip was physical – to build a family, establish a household and work in the normal way of the world – “Man then goes out to his work, to his labor until the evening” (Psalms 104:23) .
The G-d of Abraham was the “G-d of going forth” – “Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house” – (Genesis 12:1). Abraham went forth to Beth-El, to Mount Moriah, to Hebron, to Beer-sheba, to Gerar, to Egypt, and other places.
The G-d of Isaac was the “G-d of residing” – “Reside in this land, and I will be with you and bless you” –Genesis 26:3.
G-d’s words to Jacob in the revelation at Bethel: “You shall spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south… Remember, I am with you: I will protect you wherever you go … I will not leave you” (Genesis 28:14-15). The Holy One, blessed be He, essentially told Jacob: first you, Jacob, must surge forward, in all directions; and if you do that, the Holy One, blessed be He, will protect you wherever you go.
Notes: “Remember, I am with you: I will protect you wherever you go” – through all the exiles; “and will bring you back to this land” – the final redemption (i.e., the return to Zion and ingathering of the exiles at the end of days).
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” — Genesis 22:14). 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 G-d of Jacob : At Bethel G-d blessed Jacob that “all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you and your descendants.” According to the literal sense, ve-nivrekhu [rendered as “shall bless themselves”] means that blessing shall come upon them, but Rashbam interpreted this as related to mavrikh and markiv, words coming from the world of agriculture and referring to grafting a branch onto the trunk of a tree in order to improve the branch and its fruit or to give the tree certain characteristics from the grafted branch. The expression ve-nivrekhu bekha meant that Jacob was the trunk and onto him would be grafted branches from the families of the earth, and those would be his descendants. An illustration of this idea appears in the list of Jacob’s descendants. Jacob included the sons of the handmaids among the tribes of Israel, with no differentiation between them and his other sons. Abraham expelled the son born to the handmaid, and Esau did not carry on the line of Isaac, but with Jacob there was a turning point; the sons of the handmaids were part of the twelve tribes that became a single people,and Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph and Asnat, daughter of Potiphera the priest of On, became part of the Israelite people (Jacob said: Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine no less than Reuben and Simeon,” -Genesis 48:5
Jacob’s dream with the temple of Jeroboam. As we know, Jeroboam son of Nebat chose Bethel as the central cultic site of the Ten Tribes, who had split off from Solomon’s kingdom and abandoned Jerusalem (I Kings 12). Medieval commentators noted the connection between Jacob’s dream and Jeroboam’s choice of Bethel, for here it was that Jacob had declared: “This is none other than the abode of G-d, and that is the gateway to heaven” -(Genesis 28:16).
As it is said: “You will keep faith (emet= truth) with Jacob, loyalty to Abraham” (Micah 7:20). Abraham is the man of faith and loyalty, Isaac symbolizes worship and sacrifice, as suggested by the epithet, “the fear of Isaac,” whereas Jacob is the man of Truth, symbolizing the Torah arising from the earth, as in the expression “Truth springs up from the earth” (Psalms 85:12), and being implemented in life as it is in actual practice.
EMETH: G-d’s SEAL: In turn, “truth” is associated with the “seal of G-d” The Hebrew word for truth is Emet, spelled Alef-Mem-Tav.
Midrash Rabbah – Deuteronomy I:10 – THE LORD, THE GOD OF YOUR FATHERS. Halachah: May a Jew who has been appointed Rabbi or Judge of the community administer justice alone? Thus have our Rabbis learnt: Do not judge alone, for there is only One who judges alone, as it is said, But He is at one with Himself, and who can turn Him ( Job XXIII, 13 )? What is the meaning of, ’But He is at one with Himself’? Resh Lakish said: G-d both judges and seals the verdict alone. R. Reuben said: And what is G-d’s seal? Truth (emeth). And why Emeth? Emeth consists of the following three letters, alef the first of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, mem the middle, and taw the last, indicating that, as Scripture says, I am the first, and I am the last, and beside Me there is no G-d -(Isaiah. XLIV, 6).
The “seal of G-d” (emet/truth) – Covenant and Circumcision in Midrash writings: Midrash Rabbah – Exodus XIX:5 – When the Israelite’s saw that the uncircumcised were disqualified from eating the Passover, they arose with the least possible delay and circumcised all their servants and sons and all those who [subsequently] went out with them, as it says: Thus did all the children of Israel (ib. V, 50). It can be compared to a king who arranged a banquet for his friends and who said: ‘ Unless the invited guests show my seal [on the invitation card], none can enter.’ Similarly, G-d ordained a feast for them, flesh roast with fire, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, to commemorate their deliverance from trouble; but He commanded: ‘ Unless the seal of Abraham is inscribed on your flesh, you cannot taste thereof.’ Thereupon all those who had been born in Egypt were immediately circumcised, and concerning these is it said: Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice (Ps. L, 5).
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 71b – ‘It is written: “And I will look upon it (the rainbow) that I may remember the everlasting covenant.” This means that G-d’s desire is constantly for the bow, and that he who is not visible therein will not enter into the presence of his Master. The inner meaning of the words, “And I will look upon it”, is to be found in the words, “and set a mark upon the foreheads, etc.” (Ezek. IX, 4), so as to be clearly visible.’
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 2b – IN THE BEGINNING. Rab Hamnuna the Venerable said: ‘We find here a reversal of the order of the letters of the Alphabet, the first two words Bereshith bara-“in-the-beginning He-created”-commencing with beth, whereas the two words following, Elohim eth-“God the”-commence with aleph. The reason is as follows. When the Holy One, blessed be He, was about to make the world, all the letters of the Alphabet were still embryonic, and for two thousand years the Holy One, blessed be He, had contemplated them and toyed with them. When He came to create the world, all the letters presented themselves before Him in reversed order. The letter Tau advanced in front and pleaded: May it please Thee, O Lord of the world, to place me first in the creation of the world, seeing that I am the concluding letter of EMeTh (Truth) which is engraved upon Thy seal, and seeing that Thou art called by this very name of EMeTh, it is most appropriate for the King to begin with the final letter of EMeTh and to create with me the world. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to her: Thou art worthy and deserving, but it is not proper that I begin with thee the creation of the world, since thou art destined to serve as a mark on the foreheads of the faithful ones (vide Ezek. IX, 4) who have kept the Law from Aleph to Tau, and through the absence of this mark the rest will be killed; and, further, thou formest the conclusion of MaWeTh (death).
In the book of “New Testament” -We find the concepts of truth which is connected to G-d’s Seal and Seal Upon the head of Righteous – Applies to those who keep G-d’s Torah:
Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath G-d the Father sealed. -John 6:27
whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise…-Ephesians 1:13
And grieve not the holy Spirit of G-d, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. -Ephesians 4:30
Nevertheless the foundation of G-d standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Messiah depart from iniquity. -II Timothy 2:19
Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our G-d in their foreheads. -Revelation 7:3
And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of G-d in their foreheads. -Revelation 9:4
Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the L-RD. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says HaShem Almighty.” -II Corinthians 6:14-18
And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.” -Revelation 18:4
Notes: This weekly portion describe the Jacob has a dream with angels going up and down a ladder from earth to heaven. G-d appears before Jacob, renewing the covenant that G-d had made with Abraham. Jacob sees Rachel, Laban’s daughter, tending to sheep and wishes to marry her. Laban tricks Jacob into marrying his eldest daughter, Leah, after seven years of labor. In exchange for another seven years of work, Jacob is allowed to marry Rachel. Jacob has many sons with Leah, but Rachel is unable to conceive. Finally, G-d blesses Rachel, and she has a son, whom she names Joseph.
“He had a dream; a ladder was set on the ground and its top reached the sky, and angels of G-d were going up and down on it. And the Lord was standing beside him [or ‘upon it’]” -Genesis 28:12-13.
Zohar Vayetze 149: Come and see: “And he dreamed.” How could it be that to holy Jacob, the chosen of the patriarchs, and in such a sacred place, G‑d was revealed only in a dream? Jacob was not yet married and Isaac was still alive. You may wonder why, after he was married, it is written: “I…saw in a dream”. (Genesis 31:10) This was because he was outside Israel, and Isaac was yet alive. Therefore it is written that he dreamed. Afterwards, when he came to the Holy Land with the tribes and “the barren woman” was perfected with them: “and be a joyful mother of children”. (Psalms 113:9) It is written: “And G‑d appeared to Jacob,”(Gen. 35:9) “And G‑d spoke to Israel in the vision of the night”. -(Genesis 46:2)
“A ladder stood on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven –( Genesis 28:12)
Nefesh Ha-Hayyim (I.19), R. Hayyim of Volozhin interpreted an idea of the Zohar as follows: Regarding the vision of the ladder “set on the ground,” … note that it does not say “set in the ground (baaretz), but towards the ground (artzah), to signify that its principal anchoring is in the heavens above, and from there it devolves downward, until it reaches the earth. This signifies the Neshamah in man… From there it descends like a ladder and chain, joining with the spirit (Ruah), then with the soul (Nefesh), until it finally comes down to this world and into the body of man. Divine angels go up and down it, as we said above, along its length which is the living soul of the worlds, the forces and the angels of the upper spheres, whose entire ascent and descent, indeed all their actions at every moment, depend solely on the inclination of the deeds, speech, and thoughts that are in the body of man at every moment. (As for what is written, ‘ascending first, then descending’, the entire thrust of human life is first to elevate the entire world from below to above, and after that, heavenly lights are drawn from above downwards.)
ASCENDING AND DESCENDING:
“A ladder stood on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven –( Genesis 28:12)
“This is prayer.” -Tikkunei Zohar 43.
Rabbis Commentary: 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 (Exodus 19:17); AND THE TOP OF IT REACHED TO HEAVEN-And the mountain burned with fire unto the heart of heaven (Deutronomy 4:11). AND BEHOLD THE ANGELS OF G-D alludes to Moses and Aaron. ASCENDING: ‘And Moses went up to G-d (Exodus 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
Rashi: ascending and descending: Ascending first and afterwards descending.
Aliyah means spiritual ascent as well as physically coming to live in the land of Israel. Amen! – Rabbi Avraham ben Yaakov
Yerushalayim Shel LeMala/ Above Yerushalayim is Calling Us:
- Raise your voice, Make it Good and Loud, Yerushalayim Shel LeMala. Tzyion, Bringer of Good News, Ascent/Go Up on a High Mountain. – Isaiah 40 : 9
- Good News ! Glad Tidings! Great News!
- This is What Adonai Says: Stop your weeping, and dry your eyes, for your work will be rewarded, They will return from the enemy’s land so there is hope for your future, your children will return to their own territory ( i.e Home) . – Jeremiah 31 : 16
- Listen, My Sons, to a Father’s Instruction, Pay Attention and Gain Understanding. – Proverbs 1 : 8
- Come to the House of HaShem, The Builded one fostering friendship and unity.
- My Son, Do not abandon the teachings of your mother, they will be a garland to grace your head, a medal of honor for the neck. –Proverbs 1 : 9
- The Victorious ascended Mount Tzyion to rule over Mount Esav but the Kingship belonged to Adonai El Elyon – Obadiah
Zohar indicate that words of Torah ascend on high, rending the heavens.
As the Zohar says, the Ladder is “prayer” which is the connection between Heaven and Earth. Our prayers and cries are ASCENDING upwards carried by angels and blessing are carried who DESCEND into this world .
As it is written: …on the gold altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense went up with the prayers of G-d’s people from the hand of the angel before G-d. – Revelation 8:4
When he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down in front of the Lamb. Each one held a harp and gold bowls filled with pieces of incense, which are the prayers of G-d’s people; – Revelation 5:8
“May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.” -Psalm 141:2
Yes, the Cry of the people of Isra’el has come to me,… -Exodus 3:9-12
Zohar : “R. Abba said: ‘There are two altars below and two altars above. Of the latter one, the innermost of all, is that on which is offered the inner fine incense, which is the bond of faith, and the most high Priest of all offers this incense with the bond of faith. This is called the Altar of Gold, the place where all the threads of faith are bound together. There is another altar called the Altar of Brass, which is more external and on which Michael the great chief brings the pleasing offering of the Holy One, blessed be He. On earth there are correspondingly the altar of gold and the altar of brass, on the one of which was offered incense and on the other fat and limbs. It is written, “Oil and incense rejoice the heart” (Proverbs 27:9), but not fat and limbs, although these, too, allay wrath. The altar which is the innermost of all, the linking of faith, is called “a still silent voice”, and in relation to this the other altar is called the “outer” one. The inner one is called “the altar of the Lord” and the other one “the altar of brass”. Said R. Abba: ‘When Moses built an altar (Exodus 17:15), he meant it to correspond to that inner one, and therefore he called it “The Lord is my banner”, because it was stamped with the sign of the holy covenant. This is the inner Altar, the “still silent voice”, and on this “fire shall be burnt continually”, that is, the perpetual Fire, the Fire of Isaac. The proper name for this is Adonai, but when the priest puts wood on the altar we call it by the name of mercy, YHVH; sometimes it answers to one and sometimes to the other.’ R. Simeon said that there were two, the inner supported on the outer and fed from it, the two being thus linked together.” -Zohar, Vayikra 30b
The incense altar itself is said to play the role of the Tzaddik and his actions cause the Right Hand /Merciful aspect of G-d to intervene: “For things done quietly are the province of the priests and not of the Levites, whose function it was to raise the voice in song. Hence, when judgements begin to assail the world from the side of the Left, the Right Hand must bring appeasement with the incense, which makes no sound. Observe that when that other altar commences to grow restive because there are no righteous, the inner altar intervenes with it and judgments are allayed. Hence AARON TOOK AS MOSES SPAKE, AND RAN INTO THE MIDST OF THE ASSEMBLY, AND HE PUT ON THE INCENSE, which belongs to the inner precinct symbolizing the Priest, and so HE MADE ATONEMENT FOR THE PEOPLE AND HE STOOD BETWEEN THE DEAD AND THE LIVING, between the Tree of Life and the Tree of Death. Then the Right Hand drew them near one to another and the plague was stayed. Happy the lot of the priest who has power above and below and brings peace above and below!” -Zohar, Bemidbar 177b
Zohar, Part III, pp. 31b and 121b, where it is similarly written: “That [spoken] word ascends and pierces the heavens…and evokes what it evokes: if [the word is] good — a word of Torah or the like — [it evokes] good…“; “From a word of Torah a voice is formed which rises…”;
so is my word that goes out from my mouth — it will not return to me unfulfilled;
but it will accomplish what I intend, and cause to succeed what I sent it to do.” -Isaiah 55:11
Zohar: commenting on the verse, “What profit has a man of all his toil that he labors under the sun?” Our Sages point out that only man’s labor “under the sun,” i.e., toil in mundane matters, does not realize any profit; the labor of Torah, however, is “above the sun” and does indeed profit a man. The Zohar, though, stipulates: “Even with the toil of Torah, if one does it for his own glory… it belongs to the category of ‘labor under the sun,’ and there is no profit in it.” This is also the meaning of the saying [of our Sages]: “Happy is he who arrives here on high with his Torah study in his hand,” meaning that [his Torah study] did not remain below in this world.
The saying thus means: “Happy is he who studies Torah lishmah, so that his Torah ascends on high.” Had he not studied Torah lishmah his Torah would not be with him (“in his hand”) when his soul ascends, but would have remained in this world.
In the book of New Testament:
“He who comes from above is above all. He who is from the earth is from the earth and talks from an earthly point of view; he who comes from heaven is above all. -John 3:31
……… The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life, -John 6:63
So if you were ( raised / ascending place ) [ i.e From a word of Torah a voice is formed which rises…..) along with the Messiah, then seek the things above, where the Messiah is sitting at the right hand of God – Colossians 3:1
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. -Matthew 24:35
That is, G-d raised us up with the Messiah Yeshua and seated us with him in heaven, in order to exhibit in the ages to come how infinitely rich is his grace, how great is his kindness toward us who are united with the Messiah Yeshua. – Ephesians 2:6-7
The Ladder and Sinai:
The mount Sinai where Heaven and Earth were connected and the Holy Torah was given to Israel. The word “Ladder” – ‘Sulam’ equals in Gematria the word “Sinai”.
סלם = סיני = 130
The Torah at Sinai is a covenant between God above and Israel below. “Angels ascending and descending” (Genesis 28:12). Who are the messengers who ascended Sinai to get the Torah and descended to give it to Israel – Moses and Aaron.
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 GOD – 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
Baal HaTurim, R’ Yaakov ben Asher: “The gematria of והנה סלם “And behold! A ladder” is equivalent to the gematria of the phrase זה מזבח העולה “This refers to the Altar of the Olah-offering”; the letters of והנה מלאכי, “And behold! angels”, can be rearranged to spell אלו הכהנים, “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
Namely, that the ladder stood on the boundary between the Land of Israel and the Diaspora: “The angels who escorted him in the Land of Israel do not leave the Land but ascend to Heaven, and angels whose domain is outside of Israel descend to accompany him [further]. -Genesis Rabbah (68,12 [Midrash Rabbah, Genesis, II, p.627] ) and cited by Rashi,
DEEP SLEEP FELL UPON ABRAHAM:
This vision was like that given to Avraham at the time of the covenant “between the parts” for He showed Jacob the dominion of the four 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
Zohar: ……..because, according to R. Abba, the four days corresponded to the four hundred years that Israel was subjected to the power of Egypt. And why was the slaughter performed in the evening? Because that is the time when judgement predominates above and below, and also because it was at this time (“between the evenings”) that Israel’s exiles were foretold to Abraham, as it is written: “And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abraham, and lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him” (Gen. xv, I 2). “Horror” signifies one supernal “crown” which represents Egypt; “darkness” is a second such, representing Babylon; and “great” refers to the Edomite (Roman) exile, which was to be the hardest of all. Thus it is seen that the Israelites did not go out of Egypt until all the supernal powers and principalities which were Israel’s enemies had been brought to nought; but when these things had come to pass the people were freed from their domination and brought under the holy and heavenly sway of the Holy One, blessed be He, and were joined to Him and to Him alone, as it is written: “For unto me the children of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt” -(Lev. xxv, 55).
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
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 G-d’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
Midrash says: “And he entered in the place” (Genesis 28:11). What is this “Place” (ie. Makom)? Makom represents the Holy City, the City of G-d, Jerusalem, as it’s written: “he saw haMakom in the distance” (Genesis 22:4; cf. Sanh 95b). Incidentally ‘Makom’ is one of G-d’s names, as it’s written: ”Hineh, Makom iti” (Behold, the Place is with me) (Exodus 33:21); which means that G-d is the Place of the world. Everything exists within Him and that’s why we call Him: haMakom (the Place).
LADDER – Quality of MASHIACH BEN YOSEF:
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 is a heavenly Tzaddik One who is the Gate or the Ladder ( i.e connection between heaven and earth ):
Angels are involved in this process of granting spiritual knowledge, going up and down the ladder between G-d in heaven and the earth below:
……Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Yeshua of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Yeshua saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Yeshua answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of G-d; thou art the King of Israel. Yeshua answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. -John 1:44-51
….but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it. – Matthew 7 : 14
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 G-d ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” -John 1:51
There’s an Upper Unity and a Lower Unity : The Upper Unity is the Ladder that connects Heaven and Earth. The Lower Unity are the stones that become one under Yaakov’s head. . Messiah’s duty is to bring absolute Unity (Yekhida). An Upper Unity, as Messiah brings the whole world to a perfect unity with the Creator and His Holy Word. This is supported by the verse: “In that day there will be one Lord, and his name one” (Zechariah 14:9), and also: “Earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:9). And a Lower Unity, as all Israel attains her unification through the soul of Messiah, the exiles back home and the whole world is unified. This is supported by the verse: “he shall… gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” -(Isaiah 11:2).
The one that brings Unity between man and G-d and the one that brings Unity between man and man: “Loving God” (Deuteronomy 6:5) which is the first essential command, that must be obeyed even on risk of our very own life, as is written: “With all your life” (Deuteronomy 6:5), and ‘Loving our neighbour as ourselves’ (Leviticus 19:18, 34) which is the heart of the Torah (cf. Sifra 2:12; Shab 31a).
“…for a righteous man falls seven times, and rises up again.” -Proverbs 24:17
R’ Shraga Simmons says: “The Tzaddik falls seven times and gets up.” The definition of a Tzaddik is not someone who never makes a mistake, but rather someone who, although he may fail, does not give up. . . -Aish.com, Make the Omer Count, R. Shraga Simmons
He continues, “In Jacob’s famous dream, God shows him a vision of a ladder reaching toward heaven. Spiritual growth, like climbing a ladder, must be one step at a time . . . spiritual growth is “two steps forward and one step back.” We will inevitably have setbacks. What‘s important is that we’re heading in the right direction.” -Aish.com, Make the Omer Count, R. Shraga Simmons
The Stones and Messiah:
The stones were many prior to the dream, but became one single stone after the dream. All were merged into one -(cf. Hulin 91b).
“I am the G-d of Beit-El, where you did anoint a pillar, where you did vow a vow to Me” -(Genesis 31:13).
“And you must make a breastplate of judgement… and you must set in it rows of stones… The Stones must be twelve, according to the sons of Israel, according to their names… ” -(Exodus 28:15-21).
The Torah says when this Rock became One, Yaakov put Oil on its head (Rosh). The Head of Israel is the Messiah (the anointed one): Every spiritual “Head” of Israel is a Messiah (ie. consecrated by being anointed with oil). Aaron and the priests are ‘anointed ones’ (Exodus 30:30), the Prophets are ‘anointed’ ones (1 Kings 19:16), the kings are ‘anointed ones’ -(1 Samuel 16:12; 1 Kings 1:39).
But the King Messiah is the “Head” of them all, and represents them all: …because the husband is head of the wife, just as the Messiah, as head of the Assembly, is himself the one who keeps the body safe. -Ephesians 5:23
But I want you to understand that the head of every man is the Messiah, and the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of the Messiah is G-d. -1 Corinthians 11:3
Just as Moses represents the whole Israel, Messiah represents the whole Israel, even in a higher level than Moses. For it’s written about Moses: “Be for the people (lo Am) in front of G-d” (Exodus 18:19). And then: “I will raise them up a prophet like you” (Deuteronomy 18:18), and when Joshua became the leader it’s written: “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses” (Deuteronomy 24:10). And about Messiah it’s told: “He will be raised and highly exalted” (Isaiah 52:13); meaning, he towers above the patriarchs, and Moses and the ministering angels (cf. Midrash Tanhuma Toldot).
The Blessings (Berakhot), can also mean the “shoots”; from the word:Lehibrikh – להבריך (To engraft [a shoot in a tree]). This basically means that all the nations of the Earth are engrafted in Yaakov (ie. Israel) and his seed (cf. Yevamot 63a). Again, this implies Unification: The ‘Seed of Yakov’ through which all the nations are engrafted , House of Yaaqov, as it’s written: “You are my servant Israel… I will give you for a light to the nations” (Isaiah 42:6), but specifically it’s also the Messiah, the Head of Israel, as it’s written: “There shall be a root of Yisai, which shall stand for a sign of the people, to him the Gentiles will seek” (Isaiah 11:10). For ‘the heart of the King is the collective heart of the nation’ (cf. Hilkhot Melakhim 3:6). He is the ‘Seed of Yaakov’ through Judah (Genesis 49:10), through King David, as it’s written: “I will raise up your seed… and I will establish his Kingdom… he will build me a House and I will establish his throne forever” (1 Chronicles 17:11-12).
“he will build me a house” and Yakov’s sentence: “this stone… shall be G-d’s house”. Yaakov said: “This stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be G-d’s house” –Genesis 28:22.
The community of Israel led in unity by the Messiah, who is their head. This is the secret in the words: “You are my servant, Israel, I will be glorified in you… It is too small thing for you to be my Servant to restore the tribes of Yaakov and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the gentiles, that you bring my salvation to the ends of the Earth” (Isaiah 49:6); which can be compared to: “In you and in your seed all the families of the Earth will be blessed” -(Genesis 28:14).
the Seed of Abraham was Isaac, the seed of Isaac was Yaakov and the seed of Yaakov is Messiah, as it’s written: “Endow… the Royal Son with your righteousness… His name endures forever; before the Sun Yinon is his name, and in him all the nations will be blessed” -(Psalm 72:1, 17).
Hillel Rivlin wrote that Metatron “is the angel of Messiah ben Yosef” (Kol haTor 2): of Metatron it is written: “hear his voice and do what I speak” -(Exodus 23:22), and again: “My Name is within him” -(Exodus 23:21). And of Messiah it is written: “hear my words which he shall speak in my Name” -(Deuteronomy 18:19).
Our sages taught: “He who fulfills One Command acquires for himself One Advocate-angel, and he who commits one transgression acquires against himself one prosecuting angel.” -(Pirkei Avot 4:11; Avot 4:13).
UNIVERSAL TORAH: VAYEITZEI -By Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum
Torah reading: Gen. 28:10-32:3. Haftara: Hosea 12.13-14.10 (Optional addition: Micah 7.18) (Sephardi ritual: Hosea 11.7-12.12).
“AND JACOB WENT OUT FROM BE’ER SHEVA”
Last weeks parshah, TOLDOS, completed the story of Isaac, which concluded with Isaac’s giving the blessings to Jacob and sending him away from home to find his wife. In our present parshah of VAYEITZEI, Jacob, the “perfect” or “compete” patriarch (since he incorporated the best of both Abraham and Isaac) now takes center stage, and the story of his life and that of his twelve sons occupies the remainder of the book of Genesis.
Jacob’s departure from his parental home into exile in Padan Aram and his return from there with a complete family and laden with wealth are paradigmatic for the subsequent history of Jacob’s descendants, Israel and the Jewish people. Historically the Israelites were repeatedly forced to leave the ancestral Land of Israel, yet always returned in increased numbers, together with the wealth acquired in exile: the souls of the proselytes and actual material wealth.
“AND HE CAME TO THE PLACE”
While Jacob’s journey of exile to Padan Aram is paradigmatic of all later Jewish exile, his detour on the way there to “THE PLACE” (Gen. 28:11) — Mount Moriah, “THE PLACE that G-d said to Abraham” (Gen. 22:9), that same FIELD where Isaac went to pray — is paradigmatic of the GIVING OF THE TORAH. Thus the numerical value of the Hebrew letters of SuLaM, the “ladder” of Jacob’s dream (Samech 60, Lamed 30, Mem 40) = 130 = SINaI, where the Torah was given (Samech 60, Yud 10, Nun 50, Yud 10). The Torah itself was given “in exile”, in the wilderness. The dream of the ladder and Jacob’s actions in response to G-d’s promise of protection — his laying the Temple foundation and his vow to tithe all he acquires for G-d — are Torah. They are the very essence of the Torah, the GIVING OF THE TORAH for all Jacob’s descendants. Jacob’s eventual return to this PLACE where he “received the Torah” (see next week’s parshah, Gen. ch. 35) is paradigmatic of the return of the Jewish people after exile to build the Holy Temple. The Temple and the Giving of the Torah are one concept.
The PLACE that Jacob “hit” (like you hit a target with an arrow or with a prayer) while on his way to Padan Aram was none other than the spot from which Adam was created: the place destined to bring atonement to all the Children of Adam in all generations through the sacrifical altar that is to stand there in the House of Prayer for all the Nations. This was the place where Noah sacrificed after the flood and this was where Abraham bound Isaac on the Altar. This was the field to which Isaac would return to pray. This place is alluded to in the opening word of the Torah, BeRAiSHIS, the Hebrew letters of which can be rearranged to form the words BAYIS ROSH, “the House that is the Head”. As discussed in connection with the parshiyos of the last two weeks, Abraham had conceived of this place as a lofty — and almost daunting — MOUNTAIN of spiritual achievement. Isaac had brought the idea nearer to ordinary people by conceiving of it as a FIELD of regular endeavor. It was the innovation of Jacob, the “perfect patriarch”, to bring the idea within reach of everyone (for fields, in which Jacob was expert, are still not accessible to everyone): Jacob conceived of the place as a HOUSE. “This is none other than the HOUSE of God” (Genesis 28:17; see Likutey Moharan I, 10).
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” — Genesis 22:14). 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).
This passage comes to teach that at the consummation of human history, when “many peoples will go” in search of G-d’s truth, the idea through which G-d will be understood by the peoples will be Jacob’s idea: the idea of the House — the Holy Temple. The conception of the Temple as a House brings the idea of devotion to G-d right into the house and home. The Temple is the epitome of all houses. Thus it has a kitchen (the AZARA or central courtyard) and oven (the Altar), a “living room” (the Sanctuary), with its “lamp” (the Menorah) and table (the Showbread Table), and a “bedroom”, the Holy of Holies, place of the ZIVUG of the Holy One and the Shechinah (Divine Presence).
The Temple is the universal paradigm of what all of our homes should be, a place for the dwelling of the Divine Presence. At the very center of the Temple vision is the “ladder” that has angels “ascending and descending” on it. This is the ladder of devotion. Our prayers, blessings and simple, everyday “homely” mitzvos and acts of devotion send “angels” ASCENDING upwards to realms that are beyond our comprehension. The ascending angels in turn elicit angels of blessing who DESCEND into this world and into our very lives (such as the angels who accompany us from the synagogue to the home on Shabbos night and who, on seeing that we have made everything ready for Shabbos, bless our table, which is like the Temple altar.) The vow Jacob made upon inaugurating the House of G-d is the paradigm of all the different “vows” or commitments we make involving some kind of self-restraint and sacrifice in order to elevate ourselves spiritually and elicit G-d’s protection. These acts of self-sacrifice send up ascending angels, drawing down descending angels of blessing. The foundation of devotion is our COMMITMENT (but without actual vows).
ENCOUNTER WITH THE WORLD OF OLD
Given that Jacob conceived of divine service using the metaphor of the HOUSE, it is fitting that the central focus of the story of his life is on how he built his house, namely the household of wives and children who made up the House of Jacob, and how he faced all their subsequent domestic problems — the kidnap of Dinah, the quarrels and hatred among the twelve brothers, the sale of Joseph and all that followed from it.
The building of Jacob’s House could be accomplished only through struggles of many kinds — for truth, Jacob’s quality, is born out of struggle on all levels, material and spiritual. In order to build his House, Jacob had to struggle with two major antagonists: Esau and Laban. Esau embodies the threat to the Holy House from the forces of excess and evil in the material world, ASIYAH. The encounter with Esau is a central theme in next week’s parshah: VAYISHLACH. In this week’s parshah of VAYEITZEI, the focus is on Jacob’s encounter with Laban, whose threat to the Holy House is from the forces of excess in the spiritual worlds. Thus while Esau is portrayed as a HUNTER-WARRIOR, Laban is portrayed as a PRIEST (Rashi on Gen. 24:21, Gen. 31:30ff).
To build his House, Jacob had to rescue the sparks of holiness that were still to be find in the land of the Sons of the East (Gen. 29:19), literally the “Sons of OLD”. These sparks of holiness were embodied in Rachel and Leah and their handmaidens, who were to mother the Souls of Israel. In order to rescue them, Jacob had to struggle with Laban, the High Priest of the “Old World”, the unrectified World of TOHU (confusion) created by G-d to spawn the realm of evil with which man has to struggle in order to attain his destiny. Laban was the father of Be’or who was the father of Bilaam, also called Bela. Bela the son of Be’or is the first of the Seven Kings of Edom who ruled “before there was a king in Israel” (Gen. 36:31 ff.). These “Seven Kings” allude to the seven sefiros in their “fallen” manifestation as a result of the “breaking of the vessels”. Kabbalistically, Bela corresponds to DAAS of the SITRA ACHRA, the evil consciousness that is the opposite of G-dly knowledge and awareness, the root of all the other sefiros. The ARI states that Bilaam-Bela was the incarnation of Laban, who is the very brain of the realm of evil, as indicated by his name, which consists of the letters Lamed (30) Beis (2) corresponding to the 32 Pathways of Wisdom, and Nun (50), corresponding to the 50 Gates of Understanding. Jacob’s conflict with Laban continued in Moses fight against Bilaam and his pernicious spiritual influence.
Laban is the arch swindler and deceiver, symbolizing the force in creation that conceals G-dliness through our querks of false-consciousness that make evil seem like good and good seem like evil. Laban TRANSLATES one thing into another (we find an example of Laban as a translator in Gen. 31:47), distorting the entire meaning in the process. Time and time again, it turns out that Laban actually means something entirely different from what he appears on the surface to be saying. White-appearing Laban (Lavan in Hebrew = “white”) is actually filthy black.
Since the devotions of Jacob (the Children of Israel) are accomplished by using the homely objects of this world to create the House of G-d through which the Divine Presence may dwell in the world, it is essential to cleanse the world of the mental distortions (the deceptions of idolatrous Laban) that could undermine the entire message of the Holy House.
Each one of us has the personal work of using Jacob’s honesty to cleanse ourselves of the inner Labans that have us working for years chasing after phantoms, only to find ourselves sadly deceived…
THE WORK ETHIC
Jacob followed the example of Abraham’s servant Eliezer (Gen. 24:11) in going to the WELL in order to find his ZIVUG (soul-mate). As father of the people who were to bring the spiritual waters of Torah to all mankind, Jacob expected to find the appropriate soul-mate at the place of the “water-drawers”. There Jacob saw his first love, Rachel, whose beauty was visible also on the exterior, as opposed to Leah, whose spiritual greatness was more concealed. The swindle by which Laban motivated Jacob to work for seven years for Rachel but actually gave him Leah, forcing him to work another seven years to get Rachel too, was a harsh lesson in how life may give us what we didn’t bank on.
The implicit message in Jacob’s deals with Laban, whereby Jacob worked for everything he gained — his wives, his children and his flocks — is that honest work is good, even when swindlers lurk. The heavens and earth were made “to do” (Gen. 2:3). “For six days, work shall be done…” (Exodus 35:2): Work is a good thing! Jacob had received rich blessings from Isaac, but that did not mean he had what he gained through sitting back and doing nothing. It was his very conscientiousness in working to earn the promised good that made him deserve the blessings.
The repeated seven-fold cycles in our parshah (seven years of work for Rachel and Leah, the seven days of the marriage celebrations) are bound up with the underlying six-day/Shabbos cycle of creation which comes to rectify the seven fallen sefiros of the world of TOHU spawned by Bilaam-Laban. The holy sparks rescued by Jacob through his “work” — Rachel, Leah, the handmaidens, their children, and the “flocks”, namely the holy souls — are all reordered in the world of TIKUN (Rectification, the sefiros in their holy manifestation) in the House of Jacob. Here Jacob (corresponding to Zeir Anpin, the unity of G-d) is joined and unified with his wives, Rachel (the revealed world) and Leah (the concealed world).
Jacob’s main work and that of his wives was that of BREEDING — the breeding of children and the breeding of “flocks”. This comes to emphasize the centrality of family, education and good breeding in true civilization. The House about which Jacob’s Temple comes to teach is not a far-off concept. It is the actual house and home in which we live, where our work must be to educate ourselves and our children to see and manifest G-d in our mundane, everyday activities.
Jacob is the archetype of the faithful employee. He starts off with nothing (according to the Midrash, Jacob was stripped of all his possessions by Esau’s son Eliphaz as he set off for Padan Aram). He works conscientiously to benefit and enrich his employer, with scrupulous honesty and devotedness (as expressed in Jacob’s eloquent self-defense Gen. 31:38 ff.). Jacob is pitted against a slick liar who keeps on changing the terms of agreements, who sells his own daughters, who watches his nephew work for his wives, children and flocks for 20 years and still says, “They are all mine….”
The practical teaching about the work ethic that emerges from this section of our parshah telling of Jacob’s way of working applies to all mankind. It is an important aspect of the universal law against stealing:
“Just as the employer is cautioned not to steal or withhold the wages of the poor man, so the poor man (the employee) is cautioned not to steal the work of the employer by wasting a little time here and a little there so that he spends the entire day cheating his employer. The worker is obliged to be strict with himself in the time he devotes to his employer’s work… and he is obliged to work with all his strength. For the righteous Jacob said ‘For WITH ALL MY STRENGTH I worked for your father…’. And therefore he took the reward for this even in this world…” (Rambam, Laws of Hiring 13:7)
Those who are inclined to pass the working hours drinking tea and coffee, chatting, making irrelevant phone calls, etc. should take note.
Shabbat Shalom! – by Rabbi Avraham Yehushua Greenbaum
Haftarat Vayetzei – ‘And he went out’ (Hosea 12:12-14:10)
This week’s haftarah is connected to the Torah portion because of the reference to Jacob departing:
When Ephraim spoke, trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended through Baal worship, he died. Now they sin more and more, and have made for themselves molded images, idols of their silver, according to their skill; all of it is the work of craftsmen. They say of them, “Let the men who sacrifice kiss the calves!” -Hosea 13:1-2
I am HaShem your G-d ever since the land of Egypt, and you shall know no G-d but Me; for there is no savior besides Me. I knew you in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. When they had pasture, they were filled; they were filled and their heart was exalted; therefore they forgot Me. -Hosea 13:4-6
I will be your King; where is any other, that he may save you in all your cities? And your judges to whom you said, ‘Give me a king and princes’? I gave you a king in My anger, and took him away in My wrath.” -Hosea 13:10-11
Repentance is the way that HaShem can give us hope:
Prayer is the “bulls of our lips,” until the Holy Temple is the rebuilt, we should offer prayer as a memorial of Temple worship of the Almighty. A habit of prayer is part of a life of repentance.
O Israel, return to HaShem your G-d, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity; take words with you, and return to HaShem. Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices [par = bulls] of our lips.” -Hosea 14:1-2
haftarah beautifully ends with HaShem’s promise to heal: I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from him. I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall grow like the lily, and lengthen his roots like Lebanon. His branches shall spread; his beauty shall be like an olive tree, and his fragrance like Lebanon. Those who dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall be revived like grain, and grow like a vine. Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon. “Ephraim shall say, ‘What have I to do anymore with idols?’ I have heard and observed him. I am like a green cypress tree; your fruit is found in Me.”
Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of HaShem are right; the righteous walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them. -Hosea 14:4-9
We will see that the children of Israel return to Most High and Torah of Mashiach, And will hug in the Holy Land, and by obeying and listening the “VOICE of Most Ancient Holy One of Israel”, will bring offerings in a righteous way on the holy mountain and also bring the Ark of the covenant with pure heart in the right place ( i.e In Har HaBayit, on the foundation Stone) .
We will Welcome the son of David on Mount Zion, Jerusalem.
[ Ha Khadosh Baruch Hu – Baruch HaBa B’Shem Adonai ] – Gaddi, President, BetYisrael International.
Gaddi – President