Parshat Vayeitzei: The House of God’s Love

One of the essential passages of the Torah related to Israel is, “And he dreamed, and behold! A ladder set up on the ground and its top reached to Heaven; and behold, angels of God were ascending and descending upon it.” (Genesis 28:12) and “This is none other than the House of God [Bet-El], and this is the gate of Heaven.” (28:17). It is about a place in time and space that comprises our connection with the Creator, and exists permanently in the highest levels of consciousness. It is where we realize the bond that holds the unity of Heaven and Earth, the spiritual and material dimensions of God’s Creation. In this awareness Jacob as Israel realizes his Oneness with the Creator.

We have to know this House where God’s Love gives lodge to Israel in the journey to fulfill his destiny as the People of the Covenant. The Torah tells us that Jacob dreamed, which means that Israel’s awareness of God’s Presence is beyond conscious material perception. However, there is a ladder set on our material consciousness (our “stepping ground”), that its top reaches up to the highest levels we are able to conceive. In this ladder angels (messengers) of God ascend and descend upon it, and let’s inquire about who these messengers are.

The Torah indicates that angels’ function is to fulfill God’s will in the diverse dimensions of His Creation, and some of our Sages define them as the Commandments that we perform as part of His Will. Others define them as the souls that descend from His heavenly dwellings to the material world, and ascend back to Him. We can say that angels are, in some extent, the ways we communicate with the Creator. They descend as the messages of His will to us, and they return as our messages to Him.

We are taught that angels perform their missions without questioning them because they don’t have free will. How come we dare to question God’s will out of the free will He gave us? We have mentioned many times that our free will is the living proof of God’s unconditional Love to us. Hence the least we must do is to reciprocate that privilege by complying with what He wants from us. Still, it is our choice. Jacob was fully aware of this, and his choice is unambiguous because he knows that His personal integrity depends on his service to God, after having the greatest honor to dwell in His House.

Angels are mentioned at the beginning and at the end of Vayeitzei, and this recurrence means a lot to us because they appear as heralds announcing points of convergence between Heaven and Earth. In this sense, the Temple of Jerusalem is the fundamental link that unites both levels, also as our highest awareness of God’s Love. This is, as Jacob says, “The House of God and the gate of Heaven”. Though it sounds that there is a separation from here and there, the realization of Bet-El becomes our awareness of the unity between both.

Angels are the messengers and the messages we have to convey in our communication with the Creator, and these are our common Essence with Him. In this context, angels are the manifestation of His Love to us, and when we live in Love’s ways and attributes our positive actions are the messengers and messages we elevate to Him to reciprocate the Love that He bestows on us.

There are two defined “camps” we know as the spiritual and the material. Both are meant to meet, embrace and kiss each other when we honor God’s attributes as our true Essence and identity, also as our ways and means to connect and relate to God’s Love. Walking in His Commandments is the way we go in the material world, and in our way we meet His Love: “And Jacob went on his way, and angels of God met him. And Jacob said when he saw them, ‘This is the camp of God,’ and he named the place Mahanaim.” (32:2-3)

We know that there are two camps, mahanaim, and Jacob turned them into one because he is aware that ultimately there is only one, the camp of God. We have to achieve this final realization, but first we must place our heads on the rocks that encompass every aspect of consciousness. God’s Love turn them into one stone where the ladder of our Love stands to reach out to Him, and where our Love and His Love ascend and descend to unify Heaven and Earth. As we have said many times, Love is the messenger and the message, its own cause and effect. God’s Love is manifest as the cause and effect of His Creation.

We just need to realize this as Jacob did, as his greatest legacy for Israel, his descendants: “In Bet-El he [Jacob, Israel] finds Him, and there He shall speak with us. And the Lord is the God of the hosts; the Lord is His Name. And you shall return to your God: [by] keeping loving kindness and justice, and trusting in your God always.” (Hosea 12:5-7)

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Kochav Yaakov.
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