Besiyata diShemaya - with the help of Heaven
"Jacob dreamed: There was a ladder with angels ascending and descending.... And Jacob awoke from his sleep and he said, Indeed HaVaYaH is in this place and I did not know. And he was filled with awe, and he said: How awesome is this place, this is none other than the House of God and this is the gateway to Heaven" (Genesis 28 vv.11 & 16-17).
The House / Night / Rebirth / Element: Air / Color: Yellow-Green / Mother Letter: Aleph / Divine Name: YHVH / Attributes: The Center Column -- Truth (Emet), Knowledge (Daat), Justice (Mishpat), Harmony & Beauty (Tiferet), Foundation & Procreation (Yesod) / The labor of Torah Study and Prayer (Avodah) / Prayer of the Day: Evening (Arvit) / Festival: Tabernacles (Succot) / Overcoming lust for food / Balanced application of Right and Left Column qualities according to precise need
Adam's eating from the tree of knowledge ruptured man's primal harmony with God, throwing us out of alignment with nature. To complete Abraham and Isaac's work to rectify the sin, Jacob taught humanity about the House. Only if we learn to lead lives of harmony within our very homes and houses -- the most basic units of human organization -- will humanity be able to make peace with the environment and survive.
Jacob's entire life was devoted to house-building: the building of his own household of four wives, twelve sons and a daughter, and preparing for the building of the House of Prayer for All Mankind destined to stand in the Mountain-Field where Abraham and Isaac had worshipped.
In flight from his vengeful brother Esau, Jacob arrived at this place of destiny and lay down to sleep. He dreamed of a ladder with angels ascending and descending. Awakening, Jacob understood: "This is none other than the Gate of Heaven and this is the House of God" (Genesis 28:17). Laying the corner-stone, he took a solemn vow of dedication to God.
Jacob's work of construction began in earnest when he arrived in Charan at the house of his deceptive uncle Laban and embarked on twenty years of labor, first to earn the wives with whom he built his family and then to breed the livestock that were their means of support.
Jacob's supreme moment came as he returned with his family to the Land of Israel, only to find Esau advancing towards him with four hundred armed warriors. Jacob's main struggle was on the spiritual level against Esau's guardian angel. Overcoming the angel, Jacob was given the name Israel, "for you have striven with God and men and you have prevailed" (Genesis 32:29).
Esau went on his way, while Jacob "journeyed to Succot and built himself a house, and for his livestock he made huts" (Genesis 33:17). In an act of collective repentance, Jacob brought his entire household and all who were with him to Beit El, the House of God.
Jacob's heritage to his descendants is the priceless fabric of spiritual teaching and practice that keeps our awareness constantly focused upon the wonders of God's creation day by day, from week to week, from month to month, on the festivals, and from year to year. Cherishing these traditions will deepen people's spiritual awareness and reverence for God's creation, thereby greatly contributing to current efforts to protect the global environment.
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