Parshat Vayetizei

Parshat Vayetizei

Bereishit 28:10-12

Jacob left Beer-sheba, and set out for Haran. He came up a certain place and stopped there for the night, for the sun had set. Taking one of the stones from that place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. He had a dream; a stairway was set on the ground and its top reached to the sky, and angels of Go were going up and down on it.

Bereishit Rabbah 68:12 (as cited by Aidan Steinsaltz)

[The angels said,] “Are you the one whose image is engraved on high?” They ascended on high and saw his [ideal] image, and they descended below and found him sleeping.

Aidan Steinsaltz

The question that arises here is how a person reacts when he leaves his comfort zone, his own small world, and is faced with a harsh, new reality. … Nowadays, we face a world that no longer allows us to remain within our own small sphere, in the company of people who are the same as us. We have already left our parental home, and we are beginning to see that the world is not only physically vast but also full of hatred, division, alienation, and self-destruction. … This is the face of the world in which we live. It is a world that is very intimidating and very frightening, and it demands upon us are only increasing and expanding.

How should he act and how should he live in a way consistent with his beliefs and principles?

He sees a path connecting the upper worlds and the lower worlds passing through him. This is the path that passed through Jacob, and the path that passes through everyone who travels on the journey of life, no matter who he may be. … no person can pass himself off as insignificant. When Jacob understands this, he begins the process that creates Israel.

The world is the framework in which every person has the responsibility to live a meaningful life.

What is required of man is that his image below should correspond to his image above, the image that is engraved on high. … This matter depends neither on the luminaries of Israel nor on the tzaddikim of the generations, neither on our great sages nor on our national leaders. It depends on the one man who, after years of spiritual work, steps outside for the first time. He begins to see how the whole world hangs in the balance over him, how all of existence hinges on him. Although, like the ladder in Jacob’s dream, his feet stand on actual ground, perhaps even entrenched in the earth, his head reaches up toward the heaven. There alone is the limit.

Bereishit 28:13-14

“the ground on which you are lying I will assign to you .. you shall spread out …”

Rabbi Yehudah Leib, Alter of Ger, Sefer Emet

This was the purpose of man’s creation: that each find the place belonging to him.

Bereishit 29:2-3

There before his eyes was a well in the open. … The stone on the mouth of the well was large. When all the flocks gathered there, the stone would be rolled from the mouth of the well …

Rabbi Yehudah Leib, Alter of Ger, Sefer Emet

The reality — the well in the field — is found in every thing … Every thing contains a life-giving point that sustains it. Even that which appears to be as neglected as a field has such a hidden point within it.

But “the stone was large on the mouth of the well.” … there is hiding, intellect is not always joined to deed. …

The answer to this lies in “were gathered there”–all one’s desires and every part of the body and its limbs have to be gathered together as one places oneself in God’s hands before each deed. Then “they would roll the stone.”