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  • Vayetze 2019

    I am indebted to Rabbi Sacks for his insights to this sedra.

    A recurring theme in the Torah is that of dreams. Ya’akov dreams, Yosef dreams and these dreams have a special importance. They start here in the sedra of Vayetzei.

  • Vayetze 2018

    Ya’akov flees from the wrath of Esav to his relations in Haran. On the way he stops to sleep, in the very place interpreted by the Sages as Mount Moriah, upon which Avraham bound Yitzchak. The Sages also said that Ya’akov stopped here to pray before going to sleep, thereby inaugurating Ma’ariv, the Evening Service. While asleep, Ya’akov had a dream.

  • Vayetze 2017

    At the beginning of this week’s parsha Jacob is heading toward Charan. He is at the lowest point in his life; he is penniless, homeless and running away from his brother. Then he has an encounter with Hashem in the dream scene. We read about the famous ladder with its feet on the ground and head in the heavens with angels going both up and down. Rabbi Yossy Goldman of asks why angels need a ladder to climb up and down the ladder because angels have wings. Surely they could just fly up to the heavens?

  • Vayetze 2016

    Adon Olam is a short poem recited in various prayer services, best known at the end of Shabbat morning. Traditionally, the authorship of Adon Olam is attributed to Solomon ibn Gabirol, an 11th century Spanish poet and philosopher. However, there is no evidence that he actually wrote it, and some scholars believe the poem to be at least a century older, from the Babylonian Jewish community. It has been part of the Ashkenazic liturgy since the 14th century.

  • Vayetze 2014

    There’s a lot about love in this week’s Sedra.  Romantic love – Jacob sees Rachel, a beautiful-looking girl and falls in love with her (26:10, 11).  Maturing love - ‘And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed to him but a few days, for the love he had to her’ (26:20).  A child’s love for his mother – Jacob’s thoughts about Rebecca and the home he left behind to live with Uncle Laban, his mother’s brother.   In one of his Divrei Torah,  Rabbi Grunewald points out that the repetition of the phrase ‘his mother’s brother’ (29:10) shows how much Ja

  • Vayetze 2012

    In this week’s sidrah, we read of the story of Jacob’s ladder. The bottom of the ladder was grounded on earth, whilst the top reached into Heaven. There are numerous interpretations of this ladder, but one particular one is related in a Midrash. According to the Midrash, G-d was showing Yaakov 2 of his most famous descendants. The one at the top of the ladder in Heaven was Moshe and at the bottom was Korach.
    In gematria (Hebrew numerology), the word for ladder (sulam) is equal to the numerical value of 136, as is money (mammon) and poverty (oni).

  • Vayetze 5773

    The Sidra of Vayetze begins with Jacob's famous dream, which he dreamt on the night when he left his home, in Be'er Sheva, on his way to Haran. There is a story about a Jew who once boasted to his friends by telling them: ‘I was at a very large museum in an important city and I saw the axe with which Cain killed Abel. One of his friends replied: When I went to that Museum, I saw the ladder which Jacob saw in his dream.’ The striking fact is that some modern scholars question the picture of angels going up and down in a steady stream, on an ordinary ladder.

  • Vayetze 2010

    This week’s Sedra contains a single narrative, comprising a text of 148 verses without a single break in the way in which it is written in the Sefer Torah. There is a wealth of incident, but what I would like to focus on today is the nature of the various deceptions described in the Sedra. And indeed the seventh word of the Sedra introduces this theme, by using the strange word “vayifga” to describe Jacob’s encounter with the place where he would have his famous dream. “Vayifga” is translated as “encountered”.

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