This week’s parshah, Vayyetze, tells two main stories: the story of Jacob’s ladder and the story of the deception of Leah and Rachel so that Leah, the older sister, could marry Jacob, who had worked for seven years to earn the hand of Rachel, the younger sister.
In commentary in our Chumash, Dr. Hertz says, “This description of Jacob’s dream is among the most beautiful in literature. We have here wonderful imagery which, in its symbolism, speaks to each man according to his mental and spiritual outlook. Its message to Jacob is its message to men of all ages – that the earth is full of the glory of God, and that He is not far off in His heavenly abode and heedless of what men do on earth. Every spot on earth may be for man ‘the gate of heaven.’
When I read this comment I was reminded of a song by Judy Collins called Nightingale (lyrics below) that I have listened to for many years on my annual autumn foliage drive. The song is about a different Jacob who searches for the meaning of life, calls out to God for help, and is oblivious to God’s reply. If Jacob had listened he would have known that God can be found anywhere, that the earth is indeed full of the glory of God, and that every spot on earth can truly be the ‘gate of heaven.’ God did indeed answer this Jacob as he will always answer us if we will only listen.
Jacob’s heart bent with fear
Like a bow with death for its arrow
In Vain he search for the final truth
To set his soul free of doubt
Over the mountains he walked
With his head bent searching for reasons
Then he called out to God
For help and climbed to the top of a hill
Wind swept the sunlight through the wheat fields
In the orchard the nightingale sang
While the plums that she broke with her brown beak
Tomorrow would turn in to songs
Then she flew up through the rain
With the sun silver bright on her feathers
Jacob put back his frowns and sighed and walked
Back down the hill
God doesn’t answer me and
He never will
Rally for Israel
We are, of course, grateful that a cease fire has been reached in Israel, but we will still be rallying in support of Israel, along with the entire Jewish community, at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill on Monday evening beginning at 7 pm.
Friday Evening Service
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for our family oriented Friday evening service on Friday December 7 at 7:45 pm. Ellen and Michael Roteman will be sponsoring the Oneg Shabbat following services. Bring your family and friends for this joyful welcoming of the Sabbath.