The Sixties Radical- Azriel


Jacobs’s ladder is where heaven touched earth. This is the food of life. Torah study and doing G-d’s mitzvahs we bring Holiness to the world and thus the kingdom of Heaven is established on earth. G-d has HIS dwelling place and thus we are G-d’s people and we get to return to my father’s house.

On the way to Aram, Jacob spent the night on Mount Moriah (known today as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem), and in his dream saw a vision of angels ascending and descending a ladder to heaven. When he awoke, realizing the intrinsic holiness of this site, he vowed that if G‑d would protect him, provide for him throughout his stay in Aram, and enable him to return both physically and spiritually unharmed, he would consecrate this place as the site of the future Temple.

Jacob vowed, “If G‑d will be with me and protect me on this journey that I am undertaking, and will provide me with bread to eat and clothing to wear, returning me to my father’s house untainted.” Genesis 28:20-21

Bread and clothing refer allegorically to the study of the Torah and to the performance of G‑d’s commandments, respectively. When we study the Torah, G‑d’s wisdom becomes part of us, just as the food we eat becomes part of us. When we perform a commandment, we are enveloped by an external, transcendent feeling of inspiration, much as a garment surrounds and warms us.

In this context, “returning to my father’s house untainted” alludes to our return to the domain of holiness after venturing out temporarily into the mundane world in order to refine and elevate it to holiness.1 Sefer HaMa’amarim Melukat, vol. 2, pp. 162–163.