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Parashat Vayetzei: Ascending Jacob's Ladder

This parasha invites us to witness a very special process: that of how a complicated, intricate, and twisted individual in their relationships straightens out as life confronts them with difficulties. We're talking about our patriarch, Jacob Avinu.


Jacob was born fighting to come out before his brother. He deceived his brother by usurping the birthright through cunning. Jacob is the one who also deceives his own father to obtain a blessing in place of his elder brother.


The deceptive Jacob dreams of a ladder. He dreams of angels ascending and descending on it. Pay special attention to the fact that the angels ascend, meaning they are on earth with us, with humanity. And they ascend towards the holiness close to God.


It's as if the angels seek to take with them, in their ascent, those things that humanity must amend, lifting them to a better place where divine holiness "cleanses" these impurities from human beings, leaving them ready. It is then that they descend again, rejoining humanity in their task of purifying souls and individuals, helping and protecting them in their journey through this world.


Jacob experiences exactly what I just described in his dream: the deceptive and complicated Jacob is "cleansed." His being matures, and he begins to see life differently. It is then that he can fall in love and wholeheartedly give himself to win his beloved, working first for 7 years, then another 7, and another 6.


A long time... isn't it? It's the time of internal teshuvah, the process by which Jacob goes from being ignorant and a trickster to being a patriarch whose descendants would carry his name with pride, Bnei Jacob, or Bnei Israel.


Most of the time, we need an external dream or a "ladder" to show us that we must reconsider attitudes or straighten something in our lives or relationships. But the times of direct messages from the Kadosh Baruch Hu, or clear messages, are behind us.


It is up to each of us to weigh our actions and our lives, understanding that what was done wrong can be remedied and straightened, and to establish more sincere and loving bonds with our surroundings. Respecting differences and accepting disagreements.


We have many deceptive and intricate relationships around us: relationships with people, business relationships, relationships with surrounding nations. Some are unavoidable and impossible to change. Others can be worked on and improved, made more direct and sincere.


The difficult part and the challenge for us is to recognize when we are being lied to or when lies are being told to our surroundings. We experience this almost daily in the face of a terrorist organization that exposes false numbers and misinforms the public. Ignorance and baseless hatred take hold and strengthen with this misinformation or disinformation. Even among people of the People of Israel, it takes hold, and they proceed to claim it as truth.


What to do in the face of deception, in the face of lies? We can only confront the truth. We can seek arguments to unmask the lie, even if it takes time. If we set our minds to it, we can expose them, whether they are interpersonal relationships around us, business relationships, or entire nations. Inform ourselves, seek to have a background to transmit and disseminate the truth until the lie is reversed.


May we, on this upcoming Shabbat, be the architects of our own changes. Taking advantage, if we wish, of our angels helping us see things clearly and mature processes. But above all, being protagonists of that change.


May we learn to have less intricate and convoluted lives so that our relationships are nourished by the exchange of the upright and the simple, seeking to grow with their own and within themselves.


May the Kadosh Baruch Hu enlighten each and every one who speaks truths, seeks the truth, and pursues peace.


Am Israel Chai!!


Shabbat Shalom,


Rabbi Gustavo Geier

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