Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Vayetze
To dedicate this lesson

The Torah study is dedicated to the full recovery of

Asher Ishaayahu Ben Rivka



Rabbi Mallen Galinsky

Cheshvan, 5763
Sleeping at the foot of Mount Moriah, Yaacov dreams: "...a ladder set on the earth and its top reached heavenward, and behold angels of G-d were ascending and descending on it, and behold, Hashem was standing over him... (Gen. 28:12-22)." He takes this dream seriously, as a promise from Hashem. In turn, he makes a vow that the rock upon which he slept will forever be "a house of G-d (28: 22)."

Yet Yaacov takes Yoseph's dreams so lightly. Yoseph, too, dreamt of earth and heaven -- first of sheaves, and then of the sun, the moon and the stars. What was Jacob's response? "His father scolded him (Gen. 37:10)." He rebuked Joseph, at least publicly. Wherein lies the difference between Jacob's dream and Joseph's dreams?

My colleague, Rabbi Philip H. Singer, and I arrived at the conclusion that, although the dreams were similar , there was one essential component missing in Joseph's dreams: -- the ladder, the link between earth and heaven, upon which angels could ascend and descend. A connection between heaven and earth is necessary to make a dream a reality. And in our world, the connection between heaven and earth is Torah.

Yaacov's dream which combines heaven and earth brings with it a promise to "guard you wherever you go and return you to this soil (28: 15);" to Eretz Yisrael. Dreams of heaven or earth, without this connection, can lead to jealousy, to strife, to disenchantment and to rivalry between brothers .These, in turn, may lead to expulsion from Eretz Yisrael. Eretz Yisrael without Torah -- the link between heaven and earth -- or for that matter, Torah without Eretz Yisrael, is an anomaly.

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