Jacobs Ladder
By Moshe Katz

December 8, 2011

There is a God in this Place

Often the events in our daily lives are confusing. We feel lost and bewildered and just can't make any sense of it. We are thrown into situations that we cannot explain and that we do not know how to handle. Sometimes we even cry out and say, "Where is God when I need Him?"

Our forefather Jacob (Ya'akov) was in such a situation, as we read (the Torah portion of Wa Yeseh), "And Jacob exited Be'er Sheva and went towards Haran." He was leaving a familiar place and going towards the unknown.

Now of course in those days there was no bus, no GPS, just the open land. He took his stick and began to walk. There were no "Bed and Breakfast" places along the way, so "he encountered the place and spent the night there for the sun had set, and he took from the rocks of the place and placed them under his head and he lay down in that place."

Truly he was not staying in the finer hotels.

Now he has his dream; he sees Messengers (angels) going up and down a ladder. He has a vision of holiness and greatness. The ladder is firmly planted on the ground but its "head" reaches heavenwards and the Messengers of God are ascending and descending upon it.

And then God Himself appears in the dream, and behold He speaks to the wandering young man…"This land upon which you lie will be yours, for you and your descendants. Your seed shall be as the sand of the earth and you shall burst forward, west and east, north and south, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed by you and your offspring.

And behold I am with you! And I shall guard you and protect you wherever you shall go and I will return you to this land because I shall not leave you until I have done that which I have spoken to you."

Now Jacob wakes up, he arises from his deep sleep and the divine revelation in the dream. He is a changed man, he is revitalized and inspired. And he says, "Behold, in fact there is a God in this place but I had not known it." And he was fearful and said further, "How awesome is this place, this is none other than the House of God and this is the Gate to Heaven!"

Behold, in our own lives. We are wanderers, we are travelers and we are often lost. We do not realize the potential that lies before us. (you shall burst forward, west and east, north and south…) we do not realize that we are never alone, that on the loneliest road we are not alone.

We do not realize that wherever we are there is huge potential, amazing possibilities and that in fact, behold there is a God in this place but I did not know it! Behold, there are great lessons to be learned here, it is not as bad as I perceive it, in the long run I may discover this was all for some purpose.

The road was hard for Jacob; the road is hard for all of us. He felt alone, unguided; he slept on hard ground and used rocks for a pillow. Whatever you may believe or not believe you must know that there is more to a situation than you can possibly see right at the moment.

At a certain point, like Jacob, you will "wake up" and say, Goodness! I did not realize what I can make out of this situation, I did not realize the potential over here, I did not realize that there is no such thing as a "God forsaken place"; I did not realize that in fact, I was never alone.

Hopefully we realize that in whatever place we might find ourselves, in whatever the circumstances might be we will soon wake up and say - this in fact is the house of God, where I am right now, and this is the gateway to heaven. The gate is open and the Messengers are there. From here the sky is the limit and there is no holding me back.