Vayetzei

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Praying in the Darkness

Between the portion’s opening verse and Jacob’s dream, there is only one verse: “And he came upon the place and slept there for the sun had set; he took from the stones of the place and placed them around his head, and he laid down in that place.” The Sages explain that the Hebrew word […]

Awakening from Below

The depiction of the angels as first ascending and then descending alludes to yet another concept, referred to by Kabbalists and Chassidut as “Awakening from Below.” In this process a human being “arouses” him or herself, taking the initiative and mustering the strength and spirit to draw closer to God. Optimally, we reach God in […]

The Place

“Jacob awoke from his sleep and said: Surely God is in this place and I did not know” (Genesis 28:16). Rashi comments that had Jacob known that God was present he certainly would not have slept in such a holy place. A deeper reading of the text suggests that Jacob was expressing an unexpected new […]