Vayetzei — The place of dreams

Jacobs Ladder.  From wikipedia
Jacob's Vision of a Ladder from Wikipedia

Parashat Vayetzei   Dec. 3, 2022

The first aliah of this week’s parsha tells the story of Ya’akov traveling toward Haran toward his uncle Lavan’s house. On the way he needs to sleep.  He takes some rocks and arranges a sleeping surface.  Ya’akov has a dream of angels going up and down a ladder. God reveals himself and reinforces the covenant made with Avraham. In the morning he piles the stones in the shape of a pillar and names the place Beth-El.  The place still exists today.

One has a certain amount of control over what we dream.  Some people dream of winning the lottery and never needing to work for a living.  For them material wealth is the same as success.  Some people dream of bettering themselves.  Perhaps they want to go to school so they can learn how to help others? Perhaps the goals of learning are more modest and based in the here and now.  Ya’akov yearned for the presence of God in his life.  The ladder pointed skyward.  The angels went up and down representing the need to be grounded and thee desire to better oneself.

The business lesson is that we need three kinds of dreams – the desire for material goods so that we can take care of our needs for food, shelter, and clothes; the dreams of ambition so that we can learn about the world and make it a better place, and the dream to be closer to God to ensure we have a moral compass that puts limits on the pursuit of material goods, power, and selfishness.

About the Author
Lives in Chicago, Illinois USA. Academic and synagogue librarian for more than 40 years. Graduate of Columbia University in the City of New York, Jewish Theological Seminary, and Jewish University of America. MHL and DHL in Tanah. Gabbai Sheni of Kehilath Jacob Beth Shmuel in Chicago for more than 40 years.
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