Jacob's dream

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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

"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)

This famous passage from our Torah portion describes Jacob's dream. Some commentators explain that Yaakov is looking at all of Jewish history: the angels symbolize the nations that ruled over us, that rose and fell: Egypt, Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and Rome. All these world powers eventually disappeared and only Jacob, the dream's dreamer, and his sons have continued to exist and prosper until today.

Other commentators explain that this is a description of human nature. We are created from heaven and earth, from a soul and a body, and all of our lives we go up and down, combining the holy with the profane. Yaakov leaves a warm home for a journey through life. He sees not only the struggle of the nation of Israel against its enemies, but the struggle of all us against our earthly inclinations.

(In memory of Major Itay Zayden from Kibbutz Shoval and Corporal Lihu Ben-Bassa from Rishon Lezion, who perished yesterday when their light aircraft crashed during a pilot training course, between heaven and earth).

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