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 "...and he (Yaakov) said, Surely Hashem is in this place and I did not know" [Bereshit 28:16]. "...if Hashem will give me bread to eat and clothes to wear" [28:20] Yaakov had just awakened from an incredible dream. 

As Parshat Vayetzey begins, Yaakov flees Be'er Sheva on his journey to Haran. He is fearful that his brother Eisav harbors hatred towards him and will try to kill him over their father's blessing. Yaakov is uncertain about his future, and the personal exile he is now entering. 

At nightfall, Yaakov arranges stones around his head and tries to sleep.  He dreams of Angels ascending and descending on a ladder reaching up to heaven. He sees Hashem standing over him and Hashem says that he is the G-d of Avraham and Yitzchak his father. Hashem promises to guard Yaakov and return him to this land where his offspring will multiply and be ever a source of blessings to the nations of the world. Why is Yaakov surprised to encounter Hashem there? Isn't Hashem everywhere? Why did Yaakov say, "I did not know!" 

There is a beautiful message found in the words "I did not know." Take time to contemplate the greatness of Hashem and disregard the "I." When a person is able to minimize his ego and see beyond himself, he gains a greater awareness of Hashem. 

Sometimes, we tend to think of Hashem as dwelling in Heaven or residing at the Synagogue. But on a lonely desolate road? Or in our place of business, or in the classroom? Indeed, when we really try, we can feel Hashem's presence in every area of our lives. 

The eternal message of this story is that the earth is filled with the power and glory of Hashem. Hashem is not far away in Heaven, unconcerned about what people do here. Indeed, every place has the potential to become a gateway to heaven, and Hashem's divine protection extends to each of us wherever we are. 

Indeed, Yaakov is asking for more than just his material needs. He wants to have them and to use them for a divine purpose. We need more than the bread and the clothes. 

We pray for the chance to utilize them in joy, peace and security in the service of Hashem. 

Remember, the angels first ascended and then descended that ladder. Wouldn't the Angels first need to come down the ladder from Heaven before going up again? From this we learn that when we strive to live in the ways of Torah, we are always surrounded by angels...right here on earth. 

KolKol Tov! Our best to's all good. Shabbat Shalom, CM


Sometimes Hashem's divine protection is hidden from us while other times it is more obvious. Can you recall a time when you were helped by Hashem in a hidden way?

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