UPDATED April 17Th 2016
The higher we climb the ladder, the higher the top of the ladder reaches. The ladder is learning Torah and mediation.
First Yaakov sees all the angels of God rising from the earth and descending from the heavens. The sages say these were the angels who supervise the nations of the world. While on top of the ladder is God who alone supervises the providence of Yisrael, the whole world and all in it. If they will only draw close to him and follow his will God would give them everything. Next are born the 12 tribes. These 12 sons of Yaacov who entered Egypt with their families numbered 70 in all as listed in Exudus. These parallel the 70 nations of the world listed in Genesis.
The ladder of Jacob’s dream is prayer. Jewish prayer (meditation) is a teaching passed down from their Prophets. It is written in the Zohar that the ladder in Jacob’s dream is a metaphor for prayer (Tikunei Zohar #43).In the dream, the ladder represents prayer as the connection between man, situated at the bottom of the ladder, and God who appears at the top of the ladder. The numerical value of “sulam”, ladder equals 136, the same as “kol”, voice. The ladder is the voice of prayer rising from the heart of man who is firmly entrenched in the physical world below, till it reaches the heavens and God who is ever present above the ladder. Through the act of prayer man’s consciousness rises from rung to rung, and although standing on the earth, his or her spiritual awareness is truly elevated to the heights of heaven.
During the second temple period the last of our prophets and our sages who were of highest spiritual level of Divine knowledge saw the future spiritual decline of our people so instituted three daily prayers of 18 blessings. On the simple meaning the three daily prayers – morning, noon and evening correspond to daily offerings in the temple. In these prayers every letter, every word has enormousness spiritual depth. Even now, when we are no longer on such high spiritual level we can still invoke their inherent spiritual powers by carefully following our sages instructions concerning how to “work” these “prayers”.
The morning prayer can be roughly divided into two parts – ascending though each spiritual world to request Light and then bringing the Light down into each spiritual world as we descend. Here is the basic structure of the prayer:
1. Morning Blessings & Korbanot – Asiyah (going up)
2. Kaddish (eliminate Klipot from Asiyah before getting to Yetzirah)
3. Piskei De-Zimra – Yetzirah (going up)
4. Kaddish (nullify Klipot from Yetzira before getting to Beriyah)
5. Sma – Beriyah (going up)
6. Shmone Esray (silent prayer of 18 blessings) – Atzilut
7. Ashrei – Beriyah (bringing the Light down)
The seventy voices of a woman giving birth correspond to the seventy words in Psalm 20, which begins, “ G-d answer you on the day of pain.”
8. Kaddish (nullify klippot)
8. Song of the day (each day connects to a specific aspect of the soul), bringing the Light down)
9. Kaddish (nullify klippot)
10. Aleinu – brings the Light down to our world
The Kadish is said at the conjunction of worlds, as between Yetzera and Bria. Kaddish is said in Aramaic which attracts Klippot. The Holy AR”I explains that when the klipot attach themselves to its words the Kadish brings them to much higher level, and there they are eliminated.
There is no Kadish between Beriyah and Atzilut, as Klippot don’t exist on this high level.
Our Holy prophets through our sages have left us much instruction on how to invoke the inner and surrounding lights and make many corrections in spiritual worlds.
We must do our best to understand the deep meanings in our prayers. By this we may make the needed corrections and attract the needed lights for the final redemption.
The first three blessings and the last three blessings of the Amida are ten sefirot of בלי מה ( without what) corresponding to the two names יהו“ה אדנ“י and their eight letters, which are ten, Being the lower Shechinah אדנ“י from below to above from אני to אין. Plus ten from יהו“ה above to below from the middle pillar. (Tikunim)
The Arizal taught that prayer itself is comprised of four sections or rungs on a ladder and that these sections relate implicitly to the four ascending worlds of Kabbalah. The first rung of prayer comprises the preliminary morning blessings until the prayer Baruch Sheamar, which begins the next section. The morning blessings correspond to the world of Assiyah, action. The series of blessings thank God and acknowledge His goodness in providing for all the basic abilities and requirements enabling us to function in the practical world of action.In this section we create a vessel in this physical world for the coming blessings of our meditation. We fix our own physical bodies.
The second rung consists of the section of prayer referred to as Pesukei D’Zimrah, Verses of Praise. These prayers are comprised of the psalms of David, inspiring praises to God for creating the beautiful world we live in. This section corresponds to the world of Yetzirah, formation. Nature both reveals and hides God. It is for us to search for God and praise His manifest creation, maintaining a sense of awe even when ”grown up.” This world relates to our emotional attachments and response to the world around us. This section of the meditation fixes the soul level called “Ruach” (Spirit) , the Emotional soul.
The next section of prayer is centered around the recitation of the Shema, the ultimate unification of the NAME OF GOD in His creation. This section begins with a description of how the angels daily praise God and leads into the Shema, the revelation of the soul’s understanding of the nature of God’s unity. The beginning of this section represents the angels ascending and descending on the ladder and culminates with man standing humbly, yet elevated, ready to speak directly to the Creator. This once again teaches us that ultimately the soul is rooted in a higher place than even the angels. This third rung corresponds with the world of Briyah, creation and relates to the intellect. This level is the Soul called “Neshama” (soul of Divine intellect). This level of the soul is a part of the God itself. By the Meditation of the “Sma” we unify the Divine name YHV”H with our self and everything in a more revealed way preparing us for the work of the next level.
The final rung on the ladder of prayer is the recitation of the Amida, the silent prayer. This corresponds to the world of Atzilut, emanation, where man encounters God who appears above the head of the ladder, in a state of intimate union. At this level a man joins God as a partner in creation. This level is actual “emanation” of the powers of creation. This prayer- meditation is another ladder itself having 18 levels corresponding to the 18 vertebrae of the Spine. It is taught in the Yerushalmi Berachot that one hundred twenty elders and eighty prophets ordained the Amida meditation (the standing prayer). This hints at its awesome depth. Infinite Divine names fill these 18 levels. The simple level of this meditation is known. Its secrets are not taught in public but are only passed down on a one to one basis.
By the traditional prophetic meditations and the implementation of the ancient knowledge which supports the meditations the fountains of well springs will open up and flow for anyone . Anyone who does the work.
While approaching the ladder of Holiness to enter the upper worlds one must elevate this physical world by their actions. Observe, to accomplish the gathering of Holiness of the giving birth to the extended family of the 70 children of Yisrael first Yaakov had to go through great treachery and deceit from Lavan. The greatest revelation of light founding the world came from the patriarch Yaakov and his wives as they gave us the foundation of the Hebrew people, but at what cost. Such hardship one has to undergo to reveal the Shechina in this world. One cannot expect it to be easy. Its written in Safer Giloyah Raza that the evil forces are always trying to get permission from the supernal court to try to test and trouble one who can or is trying to increase Holiness in this world. On top of all the trouble with Lavan , his own brother Asev wants to kill him.
All the sufferings we endure in this world make us stronger. Like a runner who jumps over bigger and bigger hurdles. After each Klipa (obstacle) is overcome it reveals its spark of vitality, its light which then enlivens us. Each time we do good and turn from evil we show to God how much we love him. It is by these ”opportunities” which seem as hardships we can give thanks to God for. As it is by these ”opportunities” that we earn our entrance fee into the world to come, and from such comes our portion.
It can be observed from the parsha that that just as Yaakov thought that he married Rachel but in the morning found it was Leah. So to in the time of the morning, time of revelation of new light the true nature of people becomes revealed, and this new nature may make one appear as though they went through a total transformational experience. Then one may have difficulties in\ their relationships dealing with one who appears to them as a different person then they once knew. But by overcoming obstacles causing confusion they can come to great results as with Yaakov and Rachel. As their first child was Yosef who saved all Yisreal in Egypt and from his descendants will arise Mashiach ben Yosef who will overcome our enemies. Yaakov had to work 7 more years to marry Rachel. Needless to say all the trouble that the wicked sorcerer Lavan inflicted upon Yaakov, and his financial treachery. His daughter Dina gets raped. Then, to top it all off, he spends the next 22 years thinking his son Yosef was killed by wild animals.
But in the end all the deceit that Lavan worked against Yaakov only turned to blessings, as will all the curses in the Torah to those who merit such. As Yaakov saw in his dream that God took great concern for him, and the ordeals that he had to go through in the house of Lavan. God rewarded him greatly as he multiplied exceedingly in good when he left Lavan’s house. He was blessed in a supernatural way. Fulfilling the teaching of the Torah that that the righteous are put to sufferings in a natural way, but their deliverance comes about with signs and wonders.
The Rabbis note that parsha (Vayetze) does not begin on a new line. Instead it is separated from the previous parsha (Toledot) by only eight spaces. Most parshas do begin on a new line. Out Of the 52 Torah portions, there are very few parsha that do not begin on a new line and these parsha are called “closed”.
GOD has His reasons for everything He does. Sometimes we can’t figure out why things happen. Yaakov. His life becomes incredibly miserable. Here is a good man, who listens to his mother and does what she tells him to do and all he gets is more than twenty years of headaches, as it appears.
Yaakov couldn’t figure anything out in this parsha – from start to finish it was all confusion to him. That it why it is a closed parsha – Parsha S’tuma. But by close observation we can see that Yaakov decieved his brother Asev taking his rights as first born and his paternal blessings. And we see Yaakov deceived by Lavan making him marry Leah instead of Rachel. Yaakov’s son’s deceive him for 22 years allowing him to think Yosef is dead for 22 years. The Ar”i tells us these same 10 sons of Yaakov who sold their brother Yosef were incarnated as the 10 Martyrs killed by the Romans. Rabbi Akiva was the only one who is said to have entered and left “Pardes” in Peace. A Divine voice announced concerning him that the merited the Eternal life of the world to come, but Rabbi Akiva died as one the the 10 Martyrs killed by the Romans. Rabbi Yuhuda Ben Baba was the only sage of his Generation who was not killed by the Sadukee king Alexander Yanai but he also was one of the 10 Martyrs killed by the Romans. The God’s ways are not our ways and are very hard to understand, if even possible ?
One must not wait for miracles for deliverance from evil, and one cannot expect providence above nature to always protect them. They need to seek a natural way to deal with the trials of this world. Here again we learn the lesson ” one must deal with the wicked with subtly”. In last weeks parsha Yaakov used guile to get his blessings, taking them away from the wicked Asev. In our parsha Yaakov sneaks away from Lavan with his belongings because he feared that Lavan may never let him leave, or take his rightful possessions with him if he were to announce his departure. This is the 2nd parsha in a row this lesson is taught, so we should take heed. ”One must deal with the wicked with subtly”. The crooked cannot be made straight, so they must be dealt with accordingly.
Everyone in the world has a unique mission. There are a certain number of missions that have to be accomplished in the world. Our sages tell us that if a person doesn’t address himself to his own purpose and mission in life, the fellow next to him who does, will get his portion and the other guy’s portion in this world and the next as well.
Asev sold his birthright, he gave up his “mission”, he lost his blessings. GOD gave Yaakov exceptional strength. He had to be as strong as Esav but using the physical power for God. He would need to apply this strength in various situations – sometimes to bash in heads, sometimes to show superhuman control, and other times to go to war. This is why the Torah has to tell us about Yaakov’s awesome strength.
Yaakov comes to the well at the beginning of the parsha, he meets some
shepherds who are from Lavan’s territory, and they are all waiting to gather together enough people to remove a huge boulder covering the well. The Torah off handedly tells us that when Rachel comes along, Yaakov turns into Superman and is able to lift the massive boulder off the well as easy as pie. As the Talmud says, it was as easy as removing a cork from a bottle.
The blessing Yaakov gave to Yehuda was: “His hands will be against his enemy.” Who was the greatest descendent of Yehuda? King David, who was a red-haired fellow with a ruddy complexion (Asev is called Edom which means red). He killed hundreds of thousands of enemies of the Jewish People. He was the archetype of what Esav could have been.
Yaakov in Hebrew is the same letters as Akev (heel), which is also the same letters as in the name Akiva. Rabbi Akiva was a reincarnation of Yissachar the son of Yaakov, whose’s soul came from the level of Akev (heel), The soul level of the heel of Asev that Yaakov repaired.
The vast majority of Jews have not assumed the mission they are supposed to. Someone else must pick up these unattended missions. There is much we must and can do. Then we will see the Hands are the hands of Asev and the voice is that of Yakov with the revelation of the Messiah quickly in our days.
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