Jacob’s Angels and the House of Prayer – (December 2011)
Parshat Vayeitzei opens with the story of Jacob’s dream of a ladder and its angels. It describes Jacob’s encounter with the Divine at the Place which Jacob then called the “gate” of Heaven. (Genesis 28:17).
He named the place of revelation Beit El, the House of God.
In one sense, this “place” is the future Temple Mount in Jerusalem. But it is also the “part” of God we might call “the Temple in Heaven”- a place of encounter and revelation which may be found in the hearts of all who seek God in humility and awe. We “go” there when we daven the liturgy, when we practice receptive contemplative prayer (hitbonenut), and when we engage in discursive private prayer (hitbodedut).
In Haftarat Vayeitzei (for Sefardim) we read the following:
“At Beit El he found him, and there he will speak with us.”Hosea 12:5