Harav Avigdor Burstein of Rananim Synagogue made an interesting and original observation about Yakov Avinu.
He referred to the incident where Yakov gathers his wives and tells them it’s time to return to Israel. He explained that an angel appeared to him in a dream, and gave him instructions as to be certain that all of the cattle born, will be striped and spotted. He wanted them to know that it was Divinely directed that he be paid what he deserved.
Rabbi Burstein added that this latter dream, made Yakov do a little self reflection.
He realized that twenty years ago, he was dreaming of ladders with angels ascending and descending. And now, twenty years later, he’s dreaming about sheep!
He saw this as a clear sign that his level of spirituality had declined significantly. This was the signal he needed to let him know that he better get back to Eretz Yisrael, as soon as possible. He did not want to be lowered into the world of materialism.
This is an important lesson that we must take, regarding our own self awareness. It is a good idea to regularly check that we are moving in the right direction spiritually. If there is a decline, we must act on it immediately. Obviously, the best solution is to live in Israel among holy, Torah Jews. That will definitely get us back on track, in our quest to serve Hashem faithfully.