VAYETZE – CONSCIOUS EXITING SH’KHINAH IN HESED
In Parashat VaYetze, Yaakov escapes the threat of violence from his brother by journeying to his mother’s hometown in modern day Iraq. On this journey, Yaakov had an important dream that symbolized his mission in life. He dreamt of a ladder connecting heaven, the most spiritual, with Earth, physicality.
Yaakov had an immediate and powerful experience of love with Rahel at the water well. This happened upon arrival to his mother’s hometown. Clearly, Yaakov wanted to marry Rahel.
This being true he makes a deal. Yaakov will tend flocks for her father, Lavan, for seven years in exchange for her hand in marriage. Seven years later, Yaakov unintentionally marries Rahel‘s elder sister, Leyah. They have many children together.
Yaakov stays the course, and at Lavan‘s insistence, works for another seven years to earn the right of marrying Rahel, too. Even after the deception and increased labor, Yaakov agrees to continue to tend flocks for Lavan. Yaakov receives payment of the oddly speckled offspring of the flock which he skillfully cultivates into a fortune.
Yaakov’s wives give birth. His own offspring come through resonating the number 12 – an archetypical number associated with months of the year, constellations of the zodiac, and now, Bnei Yisrael – The Children of Israel, and more.
After 20 years in the area of modern day Iraq, Yaakov and his family are ready to return south to face Esau and their future in the promised land.
adapted from Meta-Parshiyot 5755 by R David Wolfe-Blanke zt”l and The Living Torah By Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan
Yakov, is moving South – toward Hesed – when meeting his Esau. See Classical Kabbalah Connectivity sheet attached to the end of this teaching for more on directions and their relationship to the Tree of Life and Divine attributes.
Yaakov had an important dream
Yaakov leaves his parents’ home, comes to a familiar place, and spends the night there. It is a most vulnerable time for Yaakov. He is running from his brother who wants to kill him and is not sure what lay ahead on his journey. He lays down to sleep and placed a rock beneath his head. Yaakov dreams a dream of angels ascending and descending – a ladder to and from heaven. Yaakov’s Ladder. Next, he sees YHVH (God Who is Was and Will be), standing, as it were, over him, saying,
I am YHVH (God Who is Was and Will be), Elokai (Divine of ) Avraham, Elokai (Divine of) Yitzhak. I will give to you and your descendants, the land upon which you are laying. Your descendants will be (numerous) like the dust on Earth. You shall spread out to the west, to the east, to the north, and to the south. All families of Earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.
I am with you and will guard you wherever you go and bring you back to this soil. I will not leave you until I have fully fulfilled this promise to you.Genesis 28:13-15 adapted from Living Torah, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan
Yaakov awakens declaring the awesomeness of this space, “Mah Norah Hamakom Hazeh”. He marks the place with a pillar and calls it Beit El, God’s House/Temple.
Following his vision of The Source of Life, Yaakov, he makes a promise,
‘If YHVH (God Who is Was and Will be) will be with me… protect me on the journey that I am taking, gives me bread to eat, and clothing to wear, and if I return to my father’s house, then I will dedicate myself totally to Elokim. Let this stone I have set up become a Temple to Elokim (“Divine” – Nature/Earth/G’vurah)…’Genesis 28:20-22 adapted from Living Torah, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan
The vision and oath represent the driving force and intention motivating Yaakov Avinu, our ancestor, and so, perhaps, the Jewish people.
Note to Reader: A wide variety of Divine Names appear in Torah. Sadly, The uniqueness of Names are often lost in translation. They are referenced in these writing uniquely, highlighting each Name resonates particular attributes. See Classical Kabbalah Connectivity Sheet at the end of this post.
SH’KHINAH/MALKHUT IN HESED
Why is Parashat VaYetzai associated with Sh’khinah in Hesed? Here are some thoughts:
Avraham Avinu (our ancestor) is known as the Master of Hesed (Lovingkindness). Avraham poured Hesed into those who came into his sphere of influence. It is the way he operated in the world. He taught Yitzhak and his household to live with Hesed as the dominant aspect and to share. (One could say that he had a lot of Hesed for The Source of Life. That it overpowered everything else as it relates to the Akedah – Binding of Isaac.) It is true that Yitzhak tempered Avraham’s Torah through his view. Yitzhak followed in his father’s footsteps and lived his example in may ways. Yaakov was chosen to lead the next generation because he was better equipped for success in carrying the Torah of Hesed than his brother, Esau.
The family mission was to give over Avraham’s Torah – the Torah of Hesed – love, abundance, and expansiveness, initiating from Avraham, the human embodiment of Hesed.
Sh’khinah in Hesed
This Torah portion completes contemplating Hesed through the lens of the seven divine attributes for this yearly cycle. This completion is resonant with Sh’khinah/Malkhut.
Sh’khinah/Malkhut represents integration and birthing of the next cycle. Parashat VaYetze tells of the birthing of Yaakov‘s children, the seeds of the Bnei Yisrael. VaYetze brings the completion (Sh’khinah/Malkhut) of the first epochal era of ancestors.
The Holy Zohar associates K’nesset Yisrael (Community of Israel) with Sh’khinah.
In VaYetze, the twelve tribes are getting ready to usher in a new age and reality. Sh’khinah/Malkhut points to the birthing of the next generation and its’ implicit sovereignty and freedom of choice.
adapted from Meta-Parshiyot 5755 by R David Wolfe-Blanke zt”l and The Living Torah By Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan,
Thanks to Chava Smilovitz for skillful edits
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