Parshah Wayetze (Vayetze)
Beresheeth (Genesis) 28:10-32:3
Ya’acob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. (Gen. 28:10)
This Torah portion begins with the phrase Wayetze (Vayetze) which literally means “and he went out.” Ya’acob set out leaving Beer Sheba which means “well of seven” and/or “well of the oath” and from this place of water and prosperity he ventured to Haran which means “a parched land.” Beer Sheba was the name of a well that Abraham dug, it was called Beer Sheba due to the covenant that Abraham made with Abimelek and the seven lambs that were given as a witness. Ya’acob is in the place of his Father Abraham, drinking from his well and sets out to a desert place known as Haran. In a way this journey of Ya’acob models the course of life. The nishama or breath that was given to Adam and his descendants comes forth from the Father YaHuWaH, the well of living waters the source of the covenant and “the seven.” Though this is true, this world and it’s various tribulations, trials and pains are liken to Haran, a parched land.
In the previous Torah portion we read that Esaw had reasoned to kill his brother Ya’acob. Thus Yaacob “sets out” to the land of his relatives. While Yaacob was on the way to Haran, he came to what the Torah calls “certain place” (bamkom) where he rested upon a large stone.
Genesis 28: 12 And he dreamed and saw a ladder set up on the earth, and its top reached to the heavens, and saw messengers of Elohim going up and coming down on it.13 And see, YaHuWaH stood above it and said, “I am YaHuWaH Elohim of Abraham your father and the Elohim of Yitshaq. The land on which you are lying, I give it to you and your seed…
Ya’acob dreamt of a ladder (sullam) that reaching from the earth to the heavens (shamayim), with the messengers of Elohim (malakhei Elohim) ascending and descending upon it. YaHuWaH, himself stood above the ladder and promised Yaacob that his offspring would be like the dust of the earth, and that through Him all the nations of the earth would be baruch (“blessed” as in receiving a gift or bestowing favor). YaHuWaH appeared to Yaacob to confirm the covenant just as he had done with Abraham and Yitshaq before him.
Ya’acob was in awe of the presence of YaHuWaH and called “the place”, the house of Elohim or בֵּית אֱלֹהִים (Beth Elohim) and the “Gate of Heaven” שַׁעַר הַשָּׁמָֽיִם (sha’ar hashamayim). The stone he used as a pillow, he anointed with oil consecrating “the place” as Bet ‘El (Bethel). Then he made a neder (vow) to tithe one-tenth of all of his possessions and return to worship and pray at the altar. Ha’Maqum (הַמָּקוֹם), or “the place” that Yaacob had his dream, was actually Mount MoriYAH ( meaning my teacher is Yah) where Abraham had previously bound Yitshaq as an offering. The word makom comes from a verb (קוּם) meaning “to arise,” proposing the idea of resurrection and ascension. This is the temple mount where the House of YaHuWaH was to be built in later times! This location is a physical gate to a spiritual realm, literally the ladder of ascension to the throne of YaHuWaH. The House of YaHuWaH was to serve as a vehicle to bridge the physical world with the Shamayim (space or “heaven”).
(Mount Moriah, modern day)
Yahuwshuwa, the Messiah referred to Yaacob’s dream when he said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the messengers of YaHuWaH ascending and descending on the Son of Adam” (John 1:51). Yahuwshuwa proclaimed that He IS the Ladder to throne of YaHuWaH, the sha’ar ha-shamayim (שַׁעַר הַשָּׁמָיִם) – the ladder into “heaven” (John 14:6). Yahuwshuwa is the true “Place “ the “house of El” (Beth’El) and it’s Chief Cornerstone (Rosh Pinnah, Matt. 21:42). Just as Yaacob poured oil upon the cornerstone of the House of YaHuWaH, Yahuwshuwa is called Mashyach (Messiah) meaning “anointed or smeared in oil”.
YaHuWaH was with Yaacob! In Haran of Aram Yaacob quickly found his uncle Laban whose name means “white.”, Yaacob met the love of his life Rachel (meaning ewe lamb) who was a shepherdess, a daughter of Laban. He served Laban for seven years to marry his beloved Rachel. At the consummation of marriage Laban tricked Yaacob and switched Rachel for Leah her older sister. His excuse being that in his land the custom is the oldest must marry before the youngest. Yaacob then worked an additional seven years to marry Rachel and the Torah says his love for her was so great it was if it were only a few days. YaHuWaH saw that Leah was unloved by Yaacob and “opened her womb” while her sister Rachel remained childless. Leah gave birth to Yaacob’s first four sons: Reuben, Shimeon, Lewi and Yahudah. Rachel was barren, and followed her great grandmother Sarah’s example by offering her handmaiden, Bilhah, to be a concubine. Bilhah then bore Yaacob’s next two sons: Dan and Naphtali. Leah gave her handmaiden, Zilpah, to Yaacob as well. Zilpah bore two sons: Gad and Asher. Leah then gave birth to two more sons, Yissachar and Zebulon.
Rachel’s prayers were heard by YaHuWaH and she gave birth to a son, Yahuwseph. Yahuwseph’s full name means YaHuWaH adds. In the coming portion we will see she also gave birth to BenYammin.
When Yahuwseph was born Ya’acob expressed his desire to return to the Land of his Fathers. This made Laban very upset because his flocks had greatly prospered in the years that Ya’acob worked for him. Laban replies, “set your wages and I will give them to you.” in an effort to keep Ya’acob longer.
Ya’acob agreed that it was time to earn something for his own house. For his labor he would be given all the sheep and goats that will be born with dark markings. Laban agrees at first, but then attempts to cut into Ya’acobs profits by changing their deal “tens of times.” Many spotted sheep were born, so he decides that Yaacob will then get only the striped sheep. When many striped sheep are born, he changes his deal to speckled sheep.
Yaacob took rods of fresh poplar, almond and plane trees; and he peeled white streaks in them. He set the rods which he had peeled before the flocks. The flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle streaked, speckled and spotted.
Six years went by, during which Yaacob “prospered exceedingly; he had many sheep, maidservants, manservants, camels and donkeys.” However after long twenty years in Haran, YaHuWaH again appears to Yaacob and tells him that it is time to go home to the land of Promise.
Yaacob takes his family and belongings, and flees in stealth from Laban. Rachel took the idols from her father’s house.For this reason Laban and his men chase Ya’acob down. After seven days, they make camp on Mount Gilead. That night Laban has a dream and YaHuWaH warns him against harming Ya’acob.Laban confronts his son-in-law the following morning. Yaacob replied to the confrontation explaining that he left because he knew that Laban wouldn’t let him take his daughters. Yaacob responds concerning the stolen idols, “whoever took them shall die!” Yaacob did not know that his beloved Rachel who took them.Laban searches Yaacobs camp, but finds nothing.
They end up making an agreement by a mound of stones, that “I will not pass over this mound to you, and you will not pass over this mound and this pillar to me, for harm.” They pile up the stones, verbalize their agreement and eat a meal. Laban then turns back to Haran.
After many twenty of serving Laban, Yaacob departs for the land of Canaan where he meets messengers from Elohim (malakhei elohim). Seeing the Messengers he proclaimed, “This is Elohim’s camp!” and called the name of the place Machanayim (“two camps”). The portion ends with Yaacob sending messengers before him to his brother Esau explaining that he was returning to his birthplace after his sojourn in Haran.
(Mahanim present day)
Let us pursue the ladder, that we may rise spiritually to higher levels of understanding in our walk but also that we may rise in the resurrection of the righteous! The Messiah Yahuwshuwa is the ladder, the gate of the Shamayim (space).