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Vayetze: Of Ladders and Vows . ,
10 And Jacob left Beersheva, and went toward Haran. 11 And he lighted upon the place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took one of the stones of the place, and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it (bo). 13 And, behold, the LORD stood beside him, and said: 'I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac.The land on which you are lying, I will give to you, and to your descendants. 14 And your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out to the west, and the east, and the north, and the south. And in you and your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 And, behold, I am with you, and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back into this land; for I will not leave you, until I have done that which I have spoken of to you.' 16 And Jacob woke up from his sleep, and said: 'Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.' 17 And he was afraid, and said: 'How full of awe is this place! this is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.' 18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil on it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bet-el, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. 20 And Jacob swore a vow, saying: 'If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and clothes to wear, 21 so that I come back to my father's house in peace, then shall the LORD be my God, 22 and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house; and of all that You give me I will surely give the tenth to You.'


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R. Hiyya the Elder and R. Yannai disagreed: One maintained: [The angels] were ascending and descending the ladder; while the other said: they were ascending and descending on him²on Jacob! The first view is clear. But that they were ascending and descending on Jacob must mean that some were exalting him and others chiding him, dancing, leaping, and maligning him. « it is you [said the angels] whose features are engraved on high; they ascended on high and saw his features and they descended bellow and found him sleeping. This can be compared to a king [whose image] was found sitting in his council chamber in judgment, while at the same time he lay asleep in the corridor.µ (Bereshit Rabbah 68:18).

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´in his dream, Yaacov saw a ladder whose top reached into heaven. It still exists. There are those who have seen it, somewhere in Poland, at the side of an out-of-the-way railroad station. And an entire people were climbing, climbing towards the clouds on fire. Such was the nature of the dread, our ancestor Yaacov must have feltµ (Elie Wiesel)

Rabbi Abahu said ¶If God will be with me and guard me on the way that I am going· this means guarding me from Lashon Hara. ¶and provides me with bread to eat· guard me against Gilui Arayot, sexual indiscretion·. ¶And return me in peace to my father·s house· guard me against the spilling of blood. ¶And God will be for me a God· guard me from idolatry.

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Yaacov experiences all of these failures because he achieved what he was destined to achieve in a crooked way (Yeshayahu Leibowitz)

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