(Haftara: Hoshea 12:13-14:10)
1. [28:12] “…a ladder was standing on the ground, and its top reached heaven…” In Ya’akov’s prophetic dream, angels were going up and coming down the ladder. One interpretation of this dream is that this represents a certain type of tzaddik’s frame of mind–feet on the ground—head in heaven. Another interpretation is that the angels that accompany a person in Israel are not the same as the angels outside of Israel. If this is a prophetic dream, why isn’t its meaning more obvious?
2. [29:11] “…and he raised his voice and he cried.” When Ya’akov met Rachel, he cried. The midrash says that he was crying because he had a prophetic vision telling him that he would not be buried with her. Another explanation is that he was crying because he had found his soul-mate after this difficult journey. How do each of these interpretations see Ya’akov’s character in a different way?
3. [29:25] “…why have you tricked me?” Lavan tricked Ya’akov by giving him Laya as a wife instead of Rachel. Then Lavan told Ya’akov that he must work 7 more years for Rachel. Ya’akov did not protest about this extra time. Why did he not protest?
4. [29:13-32:3] Lavan has been described as a person of high ideals and of low behaviour. His behaviour did not match his philosophy. Is there any other way of understanding his behaviour?
5. [Haftara: Hoshea 14:10] “The ways of God are straight. The righteous walk on them, but the sinners stumble on them.” If the ways of God are straight, why would sinners stumble on them?
When a person makes tshuvah out of love, he has to forgive himself for all his sins, just like he has to appease his friend in order to get his forgiveness. Then after he is free of sin in his own eyes, there will come upon him the holiness that will turn all his sins into merits.
–R. Avraham Y. H. Kuk, 1865-1935, Lithuania and Israel
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker
And to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer