Torah Study Notes 11-9-13

November 9, 2013

p. 195

28:10 Jacobs Ladder – there has been considerable discussion about the translation of the Hebrew word for ladder. Clearly a conveyance for going up and down. But there are two words – including one for “staircase.”  Why a stone for a pillow? It takes on greater significance as the story moves forward. Note also the generality of the language as to place – it is indeterminate. Note also the comparison of the descendants to dust – rather than stars. There are radically different images. Dust has a negative connotation. SF: What did Jacob do to deserve this blessing from God? PG: But what did Abraham do? Jacob was chosen before he was born.

28:16 LL:  Is Jacob referring to the place where he fell asleep – that he now sees with new eyes? Or has he been transported to God’s house and gates? What is the “this” being referred to? LL: I would prefer to think that he is seeing the beauty of the place where he is with new eyes. Or is the Gate of Heaven his dream?  There is a great deal of ambiguity here which gives rise to much discussion and analysis. SF : We have a responsibility to bring God into our lives. Jacob assumed that God was back in Beersheba with his father. This teaches that God can be anywhere if the mind is open – in this case via a dream. Now God is everywhere where there is dust. DC: The “”this” – perhaps indicated by a gesture – could be the person. i.e. each of us carries God within us and our bodies are the Gates of Heaven.

28:19  Jacob negotiates and lays out preconditions for tithing to God. Jacob is the first biblical figure that we encounter from childhood and therefore have a back- story for. AF: Did Jacob previously act immorally in the birthright story? Is this a continuation of his tendency to be devious? PG: Superficial reaction does not give a clear understanding. The issues here are ones of justice. Is there an overlap between justice and ethics. Are they always the same? Remember that there was a conflict between Isaac and Rebekah as to who should properly receive the blessing and birthright.

29:1 Jacob meets Rachel. He rolls the stone covering the well on his own – showing off. He is now a physical person who has become more like his brother Esau.


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