Study and Test the Entire Bible in a Year, Every Year
– Week 7 –
The scroll of the Torah/ Pentateuch is the oldest (other than Job) and most sacred of all our Scriptures. It contains the “five books of Moses”. The Hebrew name for the first one is B’reisheet (בראשית). It is also the first word of the book in the Hebrew text, as well as the name for the first Bible Study (the first week’s reading). B’reisheet means “in the beginning.” The first 12 Bible studies start in B’reisheet…
The seventh HomeGroups Bible study starting in the book of Genesis is named “and he went out”, or Vayetze (ויצא) in Hebrew. The title comes from the first verse of the reading, which says, “And Jacob went out from Beersheba” (Genesis 28:10 KJV). This study tells the story of Jacob’s flight from his brother Esau, his vision at Bethel, his employment with his uncle Laban and his marriage to the two sisters, Rachel and Leah. Jacob’s double marriage results in a baby-bearing contest that gives him eleven sons. At the end of the Genesis portion, Jacob leaves Laban and returns to the land of Canaan, but not before Laban tries to stop him. Read more below.
Learn the Bible in 52 Weeks. How It Works:
On the 1st day of every week (Sunday), I release the next week’s Bible study: It will take you all week to get through it if you even do. By the 7th day of the week, you should have finished it and met as a group to fellowship and discuss it in a HomeGroup. All of our subscribers gather on different days to discuss the Bible studies, so after the majority of our subscribers have finished their Sunday services, we update for the next week. More resources are available in the mobile app and website than you could get from seminary, for free.
You will also find study guides by chapter and advanced study of the original languages following the Bible study outline. While it is our belief that many of the letters of the New Testament were originally written in Aramaic and/ or Hebrew, the Greek texts are used for study even when there are known Hebrew manuscripts (eg. Mathew and Hebrews).
Quick Bible Audio & Text:
Listen to all the Bible study below or click the link to read them at biblegateway.com in your favorite translation:
- Penteteuch: Genesis 28:10-32:2 (Interlinear)
- Prophets: Hosea 12:12-14:10 (Interlinear)
- Gospels: Matthew 3 & 4 (Interlinear)
- Letters: James (Jacob) 2 (Interlinear)
- Romans: Romans 11 (Interlinear)
Bible Outlines & Chapter Study Guides
- Genesis 28:10 | Jacob’s Dream at Bethel
- Genesis 29:1 | Jacob Meets Rachel
- Genesis 29:15 | Jacob Marries Laban’s Daughters
- Genesis 30:25 | Jacob Prospers at Laban’s Expense
- Genesis 31:1 | Jacob Flees with Family and Flocks
- Genesis 31:22 | Laban Overtakes Jacob
- Genesis 31:43 | Laban and Jacob Make a Covenant
- Hos 12:12 | The Long History of Ephraim’s Rebellion
- Hos 13:1 | Relentless Judgment on the house of Israel
- Hos 14:1 | A Plea for Repentance and prophecy of Ephraim’s salvation
- Hos 14:4 | Assurance of Forgiveness
- Mathew 3 & 4 | The baptism begins the mission (salvation of the world through Ephraim/ Israel)
- John 1 | Reminding ourselves that Jesus/ Yeshua was there in the beginning
- James (Jacob) 2:1 | Faith without favoritism
- James (Jacob) 2:26 | Faith without works is dead
- (Greek Audio) (Interlinear)
- Romans 11:1 | Paul is sorrowful for the house of Israel’s condition.
- Romans 11:11 | YHVH is Lord of all
- Romans 11:7 | So faith comes from hearing
- (Greek Audio) (Interlinear)
Bible Study Commentary
There are few ideal families in the Bible. Jacob’s certainly wasn’t. As if it was not bad enough to have two wives, they were sisters. Being married to the same man made them bitter rivals. This made for such a dysfunctional combination that the Bible later legislates against marrying sisters (Leviticus 18:18). The sisters added to the dysfunction by offering Jacob their maidservants, Bilhah and Zilpah, as additional baby-makers in their contest to bear sons. And you thought keeping the peace with one spouse was difficult! Try having four.
Jacob’s family was far from the ideal. Yet his children were the fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise. His children were, quite literally, the “children of Israel.” This teaches us that God is able to work (and chooses to work) His purposes in less than ideal conditions. Have you ever felt like your family is an embarrassment? “If only we looked like the smiling, perfect family on the cover of the homeschool magazine,” a frustrated mother sighs. Today, broken families and second marriages are common. Obviously this is not the ideal, but God can work with even the worst of circumstances. He is the God who brings order out of chaos and shines light into darkness.
Jacob could have become bitter and complained to God, “I wanted one wife, and now I am stuck with four! How could You do this to me?” But this less-than-ideal family situation he’d landed in was God’s way of multiplying Jacob’s seed and keeping the promises made to Abraham.
Rachel and Leah
When Jacob took Esau’s birthright and blessing, he got more than he bargained for: Two wives!
Here’s how it happened. Laban had two daughters: Rachel and Leah. Leah was older, but the Bible says that she had “weak eyes.” Rachel, on the other hand, was beautiful. What does it mean that Leah had weak eyes? The Hebrew word translated here as “weak” can also mean delicate, tender, or soft. Some translations understand it in the sense of “beautiful eyes.” In that case, the Bible would be saying, “Leah had beautiful eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and face.” Leah had beautiful eyes, but was not as attractive as her sister.
We know that Esau married Canaanite girls. We know that his mother and father would have preferred him to marry within the greater Abrahamic family. Leah would have been the logical choice for him. It seems natural that the firstborn would have married the firstborn and the second-born the second-born.
Jacob fell in love with the second-born Rachel, but, legally, he had already taken Esau’s position as firstborn over the family when he purchased Esau’s birthright. Leah was the one God had chosen to be the wife of the progenitor of Abrahamic blessing. When Jacob took that position from Esau, he unwittingly acquired Leah as well. Jacob worked seven years to pay the bride price for Rachel. On their wedding night, Laban surreptitiously switched his daughters. He disguised Leah as Rachel, just as Jacob had disguised himself as Esau to trick Isaac. The ruse worked. Jacob accidentally married Leah. This is prophetic as well.
Laban switched his daughters on the wedding night simply to get another seven years of work out of Jacob. Executing the swap would not have been difficult. In the custom of the ancient world, the bride would have been completely veiled and in extravagant dress, unrecognizable. Her unveiling would have happened only in the bridal chamber and in the dark.
Many Jewish communities today still have the tradition of completely veiling the bride on her wedding day. However, the bridegroom is allowed to lift the veil just prior to the ceremony to make sure he is marrying the right girl.
Jacob’s accidental marriage to Leah is a good example of how God works in our lives. We make plans, dream dreams and set out to accomplish certain things. Then our plans are frustrated, our dreams come to naught and we find ourselves far away from our original goals. But this does not mean that God has abandoned us. Your plans for your life may not necessarily be His plans. God may be attempting to work something great through your situation that you never expected.
Through Leah, Jacob sired Judah and Levi, who in turn fathered the line of the Davidic monarchy and the Aaronic priesthood. He never intended to marry her, but the spiritual greatness of Israel came through Leah. That is only a small portion of the greatness of Israel’s two houses though. As it says in 2Sa 19:43:
“And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than ye: why then did ye despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.”(KJV)
Wow, do you see this gem? This is prophetic! Prophecy in the Bible doesn’t just happen one time- prophecy is not linear, it’s cyclical. God’s prophetic calendar follows very precise patterns. Remarkably, most christians, if they read these prophecies like in Hosea 12, think that these prophecies are about the Jews, but they are not! They are talking about the house of Israel, the Samaritans, the Christians grafted in to the house of Israel because of Jesus/ Yeshua the Messiah and King! The house of Israel is representative of having “ten parts in the king”. The house of Judah only has 2 parts! In other words, if God’s kingdom was a democracy, we would be the majority vote! Thankfully it’s a monarchy, not a democracy. And in a way, it is also a republic where there is equality between individuals; all the same rules and blessings are afforded equally, without respect of persons. Only with the exception that some rules are only for men, some for farmers, some for Levites and some only for women.
We read in James (Jacob) that obeying these rules and doing these works go hand-in-hand with our faith without favoritism. And these deep mysteries are explained by Paul in Romans 11. He explains why BOTH houses have partial blinders on. The key to understanding Paul’s explanation is to know that this chapter, just like the previously discussed prophecies, are not about the Jews! Salvation (the ability to be grafted in to the commonwealth of Israel) did not come through Jews. In fact, Jews in the first century would never offer up to teach the Hebrew Scriptures to the gentiles. They would not even eat with them. They accused Jesus/ Yeshua many times for associating with them as they did His disciples.
The branches that were “broken off” were not the Jews, it was the northern house of Israel as it was prophesied many times after many warnings that they would be cut off/ divorced.
The depth of these Scriptures this week cannot be overstated. But neither can it adequately be explained in just one Bible study. But I do hope you enjoy getting just a little taste of how the 2 houses becoming one, 2 people groups becoming 1 “new man” are closely related to a husband and wife becoming “one flesh” are all knit and woven together as we are becoming more like Jesus/ Yeshua as His Bride until one day we will indeed be like Him from following Him and obeying his instructions.
Stairway to Heaven
Jesus/ Yeshua bridged the space between heaven and earth preparing for when those 2 become one. He is the ladder to heaven upon which angelic forces descend and ascend.
[Jacob] had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. (Genesis 28:12)
Yeshua told Nathaniel, “You will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:51). What did these cryptic words mean? As far as we know from the gospel record, Nathaniel never did receive an apocalyptic vision in which he saw angels ascending and descending upon the Master. In what sense did he see the angels ascend and descend upon the Master?
Nathaniel and the disciples saw Yeshua working in the power and authority of heaven (which in apocalyptic literature is always betokened by angels). That is to say that the angels of God ascended and descended upon Him at His behest and command.
And behold, the LORD stood above it. (Genesis 28:13)
The ladder image illustrates the Master’s words, “No one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). The ancient idolater instinctively understood that a great separation exists between man and God (or “the gods,” as the case may have been in his mind). His mighty ziggurat towers, like the tower of Babel, and his lofty high places and tall altars all represented attempts to span that distance. Even the highest high place does not reach high enough. Even the tower of Babel did not reach to heaven, for Scripture says, “
The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built” (Genesis 11:5).
The same might be said of all our religious impulses. The stars are always beyond our reach. God is far distant. Man’s best attempts to bridge the gap fail. The tall towers and tottering ladders we ascend are as naught. If we are to ascend to God, we must ascend upon a ladder that He Himself has extended to us from above.
God has extended the Messiah to us from above, as Yeshua says, “For I have come down from heaven” (John 6:38). The Messiah is the way of ascent, as He says, “I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God” (John 20:17). He is a son of Jacob—an Israelite—and yet angels ascend and descend upon Him, and God is above Him:
But when He says, “All things are put in subjection [under Messiah],” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things [under] Him. When all things are [under] Him, then the Son Himself also will be [under] the One who [put] all things [under Messiah], so that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:27−28)
Yeshua had bridged the space between heaven and earth. He is the ladder to heaven upon which angelic forces descend and ascend.
In the Hebrew Scriptures there are hidden aleph-tav’s [את] that aren’t usually translated into English. But they are very enlightening when we read them in the Hebrew. These are the ones we find in this week’s study:
Concerning the name Rachel which is used a total of 45 times in the Penteteuch/ Torah, the את is used only 6 times in front of her name during key events
Gen 29:10 when Jacob sees Rachel for the first time;
Gen 29:18 when Jacob confesses his love for her and commits to work for Laban for 7 years to earn her hand in marriage;
Gen 29:28 when Rachel is finally given to him in marriage;
Gen 29:30 when Rachel sleeps with Jacob for the first time;
Gen 30:22 when Elohim remembers Rachel and opens her womb for the first time;
Gen 33:2 just before they confront Esau we see a ואת in front of her name as the order of the family is given.
Special attention should be noted that the את is also used in place of Rachel’s name, such as in Gen 29:21 where Jacob says to Laban, give me את my wife. Also in Gen 29:27 where Laban says to Jacob complete the week with Leah and we will give you also את (Rachel) for serving me another seven more years…the scripture actually reads, ‘complete the week and we will give you also את for serving me another seven more years’.
Bible Study for Kids
It’s sometimes hard to make the Old Testament fun for kids. Try these Children’s activities:
For Deeper Language Learning
Hebrew “Word of the Week” by Hebrew4Christians.com
Greek “Greek of the Week”
“A ladder stood on the earth and the top of it reached to heaven…”
“This is prayer.” Tikkunei Zohar 43 on Genesis 28:12, cited at Chabad.org
The book of Genesis allows an amazing glimpse into the spiritual world. It all begins with a dream,
“Yaakov went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place (makom), and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. He took one of the stones of the place, and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep.” Genesis 28:10-11
Rashi, R’ Shlomo Yitzhaki (1040CE – 1105CE), notes that the word ‘HaMakom,’ The Place, refers to the Temple Mount,
‘And he encountered the place (28:11)’
“The place” is Mount Moriah, the “Temple Mount” in Jerusalem, where Abraham had bound Isaac upon the altar and where King Solomon would erect the Holy Temple.” Rashi on Genesis 28:11, cited at Chabad.org
This is somewhat counter-intuitive because the geographic location seems to be Beit-El, formerly called Luz. The Midrash Rabbah explains,
“R’ Leazer said in the name of R. Jose b. Zimra: This ladder stood in Beersheba and [the top of] its slope was over the Temple. What is the proof? And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, etc.-AND HE WAS AFRAID, AND SAID: HOW FULL OF AWE IS THIS PLACE. R. Judah b. R. Simon said: This ladder stood on the Temple site, while [the top of] its slope was over Beth-el.” Genesis Rabbah 69:7, Soncino Press Edition
The term Makom itself also one of the names of YHVH,
“And he arrived at the place. Why is God called Makom? Because He is the place of the world and the world is not His place.” Yalqut Shimoni Vayetze, Remez 117, Cited at Aish.com
This illustrates something important. YHVH is not contained or localized within the universe. The universe is contained within Him. The debate about the exact location is irrelevant in this passage, because Jacob in this passage is experiencing something beyond time and space. Chazal, our sages of blessed memory, say that the entire land of Israel was contracted beneath Yaakov,
“The land whereon you lie down, [to thee will I give it, and to your seed]’ (Gen 28:12).What is the greatness of this? “Said R. Isaac: ‘This teaches us that the Holy One, blessed be He, rolled up the whole of the land of Israel and put it under our father Jacob, [to indicate to him] that it would be very easily conquered by his descendants.” Chullin 91b, Soncino Press Edition
From the site of the Temple Mount, or perhaps the entire land of Israel, Yaakov sees through a window into the spiritual world,
“And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven, and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.” Genesis 28:12
This raises an interesting question: Since angels have wings (Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1), and the ability to fly, why would they need a ladder? We’ll explore this interesting question below.
Heaven and Earth are intertwined, as in the phrase, “as above, so below” or “on earth, as it is in heaven.” But how is this possible? How is it possible that Infinite Light can connect to finite matter? There must a a Bridge, a Ladder, a Conduit throughout which all prayers ascend. On Mount Sinai, HaShem tore apart firmaments and descended upon the mountain. At that moment, Heaven and Earth were connected. Incredibly, the gematria of the word Sinai is equivalent to Sulam, Ladder. Mount Sinai and the Ladder of Jacob are intimately related,
“The Rabbis related it to Sinai. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder symbolizes Sinai; Set upon the earth, as it says, ‘And they stood at the nether part of the mount (Ex. 19:17); And the top of it reached to heaven – “And the mountain burned with fire unto the heart of heaven.” (Deut. 4:11). And behold the angels of G-d alludes to Moses and Aaron. Ascending. ‘And Moses went up to God (Ex. 19:3)’; And descending – And Moses went down from the mount. And behold, the L-RD stood beside him – “And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai (ib. 20).” Genesis Rabbah 68:12, Soncino Press Edition
סלם = סיני = 130
The Midrash Rabbah goes on to connect the Ladder to the Temple. The Temple is the place (makom) where Heaven and Earth connect. Noting the parallels through the principle of gezerah shavah, the Midrash says,
“Bar Kappara taught: No dream is without its interpretation. AND BEHOLD A LADDER symbolizes the stairway; SET UPON THE EARTH-the altar, as it says, An altar of earth thou shalt make unto Me (Exodus 20:21); AND THE TOP OF IT REACHED TO HEAVEN-the sacrifices, the odor of which ascended to heaven; AND BEHOLD THE ANGELS OF GOD – the High Priests; ASCENDING AND DESCENDING ON IT – ascending and descending the stairway.AND, BEHOLD, THE LORD STOOD BESIDE HIM (XXVIII, 13)-I saw the Lord standing beside the altar (Amos 9:1)” Genesis Rabbah 68:12, Soncino Press Edition
Baal HaTurim, R’ Yaakov ben Asher, builds upon this,
“The gematria of והנה סלם “And behold! A ladder” is equivalent to the gematria of the phrase זה מזבח העולה “This refers to the Altar of the Olah-offering“; the letters of והנה מלאכי, “And behold! angels”, can be rearranged to spell אלו הכהנים, “these are the Kohanim”, for it is they who ascend and descend the ramp of the Altar. . . Baal HaTurim on Genesis 28:12, Mesorah Publishers pg. 251
Interestingly, it is also linked to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and the Four Kingdoms. Each kingdom shall rise and fall, explains the Midrash, but Yaakov-Israel will ascend but not descend. Baal HaTurim writes,
“The gematria of סלם is equal to that of the phrase, זה כסא הכבוד, “this refers to the throne of glory.” Baal HaTurim on Genesis 28:12, Mesorah Publishers pg. 251
In English, the Torah seems straightforward and simple. However, in Hebrew, using Jewish Principles of Interpretation, an entire web of hidden connections begin to emerge. Consider the following example,
”R. Hiyya the Elder and R. Jannai disagreed. One maintained: They were ASCENDING AND DESCENDING the ladder; while the other said: they were ASCENDING AND DESCENDING on Jacob.” Genesis Rabbah 68:12, Soncino Press Edition
To an English speaker, the text of Genesis is clear, the angels were ascending and descending upon the Ladder, not Jacob. In Hebrew, however, the situation is more complex. The passage says that the angels were ascending and descending “BO.” The word ‘bo’ here literally means ‘on him.’ In English and Greek, there is a neuter gender. For example, the word “table” is neither masculine nor feminine. In other languages, like Spanish, the word “table” would be feminine, i.e “la mesa, (literally, “the table).” Hebrew is like Spanish in this regard. The question becomes, if the text means ‘on him’ who is the word ‘him’ referring to? By the context, it would be Jacob. The Malbim says,
“According to the Midrash, this ladder had four rungs. . . Yaakov drew divine energy down through all four hierarchical channels of the upper realms, known in Kabbalah as the worlds of Atzilus (Emanations), Beriyah (Creation), Yetzirah (Formation), and Asiyah (Action). With this explanation in mind, an obscure Midrash suddently becomes clear. The Midrash says that the “angels from God were going up and down,” not “upon it” (Hebrew having no gender-neutral pronoun) but “upon him,” on Yaakov himself. Yaakov, through his deeds, regulates the Divine flow from above, the angels go up and down on him, by him and for him. He is the ladder.” The Essential Malbim, Parashas Vayeitzei, Mesorah Publishing Ltd., 229-230
Jacob in Jewish mysticism refers to the Sefirah Tiferet, which is the heart of Zeir Anpin, the Holy Son. One Midrash says,
“…there were twelve steps leading to the top of the ladder, and on each step to the top there were two human faces, one on the right and on the left, twenty-four faces…Jacob not only saw the ladder and the angels, but when he peered up to the top of the ladder he saw the face of a man, carved out of fire, peering down at him. So too did Jacob see God fashioning the heavenly Temple with his own hands out of jewels and pearls and the radiance of the Shekhinah. . . .Then Jacob peered into the highest heaven and saw God’s throne. He saw that there was a face carved into the throne, and that face that Jacob saw there was his own…” Tree of Souls, Howard Schwartz, Oxford University Press, pg. 358
As Jacob ascended the Ladder, his image became transformed. He became the earthly reflection of the heavenly reality.
In an incredible manner, the Zohar connects the Ladder of Jacob to Metatron,
וְכֹלָּא חָמָא. חָמָא מַטטרון, סָבָא דְבֵיתָא, דְּשַׁלִּיט בְּכָל דִּילֵיהּ. דְּאִיהוּ קָאי בְּשָׁלְטָנוֹ עַל עַלְמָא. בְּשׁוּלְטָנוֹ בְּשֵׁם שד”י. וְסָלֵיק לְעֵילָא, בִּסְלִיקוּ דִשְׁמָא דְּמָרֵיהּ הוי”ה, אֲתַר דְּיַעֲקֹב אִשְׁתַּלֵים בֵּיהּ לְבָתָר. וְרֹאשׁוֹ, דְּשֵׁם שַׁדַּי, אִיהוּ י’, וְדָא מַגִּיעַ הַשָּׁמַיְמָה. כֵּיוָן דְּמָטֵי וְסָלֵיק אָת דָּא, לְהַהוּא אֲתַר, אִשְׁתְּלֵים וְאִתְקְרֵי בְּהַהוּא שְׁמָא דְּמָארֵיהּ הוי”ה
“JACOB saw all this IN HIS DREAM. He saw THE ANGEL Metatron, the elder in the house OF THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, ruling over what is His and governing the world by THE STRENGTH OF his mastery of the name Sha-dai. He rises above with the ascension of his Master’s name, Yud Hei Vav Hei, which is the place in which Jacob was perfected. Afterward, the beginning of the name Sha-dai, which is the letter Yud, reaches heaven. After this letter rises to this place, NAMELY, TO HEAVEN, THE ANGEL METATRON is perfected and is given his Master’s name, Yud Hei Vav Hei.” Zohar, Vayetze, Zohar.com
The Zohar continues,
ּוֹ סָלְקֵי וְנָחֲתֵי, כַּד אִיהוּ סָלֵיק, סָלְקִין בַּהֲדֵיהּ, כַּד נָחֵית, נָחֲתִין בַּהֲדֵיהּ. מַלְאֲכֵי אֱלֹהִים, תְּרֵיסַר מַרְגְּלִיטָאן טָבָאן, וְאִינוּן: מִיכָאֵל קדמיאל, פדא”ל, גבריא”ל, צדקיא”ל, חסדיא”ל, רפא”ל, רזיא”ל, סטורי”ה, נוריא”ל. יפיא”ל, ענא”ל, אַלְפֵי שִׁנְאָן, שִׁנְאָ”ן: שׁוֹ”ר, נֶשֶׁ”ר, אַרְיֵ”ה, ן’ אָדָם כָּלֵיל דְּכַר וְנוּקְבָא. וְאִינוּן סָלְקֵי, כַּד אִיהוּ סָלֵיק, וְאִלֵּין נַחֲתֵי, כַּד אִיהוּ נָחֵית
“Moreover, through him, THE ANGEL METATRON, they ascend and descend. When he rises, THE ANGELS OF ELOHIM rise with him, and when he descends, THE ANGELS OF ELOKIM go down with him. These angels are the twelve precious pearls, known as Michael, Kadmiel, Pedael, Gabriel, Tzadkiel, Chasdiel, Raphael, Raziel, S’turiyah, Nuriel, Yofiel, and Anael. They are “thousands upon thousands (Heb. Shin’an)” (Tehilim 68:18). They are the letters Shin’an (Shin, Nun, Aleph, final Nun) which consist of the initials of an ox (shor), an eagle (nesher), and a lion (aryeh); the final Nun alludes to a man who includes male and female. They rise when METATRON rises, and descend when he descends.” Zohar, Vayetze, Zohar.com
And in a stunning statement, identifies Metatron as the ‘Gate’,
כָּל אִינוּן דְּשָׁלְטֵי בְּשָׁלְטָנוֹ דְּהַאי עַלְמָא, עַל יְדֵיהּ סָלְקִין, וְכָל אִינוּן דְּנָחֲתֵי עַל יְדֵיהּ נָחֲתֵי, כֻּלְּהוּ בְּהַאי סֻלָּם. הוי”ה שָׁלְטָא עַל כֹּלָּא, דִּכְתִיב וְהִנֵּה ה’ נִצָּב עָלָיו. כַּד אִתְעַר, כְּתִיב, אֵין זֶה כִּי אִם בֵּית אֱלֹהִים וְזֶה שַׁעַר הַשָּׁמָיִם. בֵּית אֱלֹהִים וַדַּאי. וְאִיהוּ תַּרְעָא לְאָעֳלָא לְגוֹ, דִּכְתִיב פִּתְחוּ לִי שַׁעֲרֵי צֶדֶק אָבֹא בָם אוֹדֶה יָהּ. זֶה הַשַּׁעַר לַה’. זֶה שַׁעַר הַשָּׁמַיִם כֹּלָּא חַד. (עַד כָּאן סִתְרֵי תּוֹרָה
“And moreover, those who dominate in this world do so through him, METATRON. And those who are prevented from ruling fall through him. They all are dependent on this ladder, METATRON. Yud Hei Vav Hei dominates them all. As it is written, “And, behold, Hashem stood above it.” When he awoke, it is written, “this is no other than the house of Elohim, and this is the gate of heaven.” Assuredly, METATRON is the House of Elohim, the gate through which one passes to come within, as it is written, “Open to me the gates of righteousness, I will go in to them, and I will praise Yah (Yud-Hei)”‘ (Tehilim 118:19). And “this is the gate to Hashem (Yud Hei Vav Hei)”‘ (Tehilim 118:20) is the gate of heaven. And all is one, which means that the gates of righteousness the gate of Hashem and the gate of heaven are one, and that one is Metatron. End of Sitrei Torah (Secrets of the Torah).” Zohar, Vayetze, Zohar.com
Yeshua identifies himself as the Door or Gate in the book of John,
“I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved, and will go in and go out, and will find pasture.” John 10:9
MASHIACH BEN YOSEF
According to the Kol HaTor, the Ladder links to Mashiach ben Yosef,
“A ladder was set on the Land and its top reached to Heaven” (Gen. 28:12) – This is a quality of Yosef as known.” Kol HaTor 2:97, Translated by R’ Yechiel bar Lev
Yeshua reveals the secret of the word ‘BO’, on him, that is hidden in Genesis. He identifies the word “him” as referring himself!
“He said to him, “Amein, I tell you, hereafter you will see heaven opened, and the angels of G-d ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” John 1:51
It is Yeshua who is the Gate, the Conduit, the Ladder, the Connection between Heaven and Earth, the Link between Infinite Light and Finite Matter.
R’ Yossi Goldman tells a story,
“When my father was in yeshiva, his teacher once asked the following question: “If two people are on a ladder, one at the top and one on the bottom, who is higher?” The class thought it was a pretty dumb question — until the wise teacher explained that they were not really capable of judging who was higher or lower until they first ascertained in which direction each was headed.” Chabad.org, A Ladder to Heaven, R’ Yossy Goldman
In our world, when we think of a tzaddik, a righteous person, sometimes translated as ‘saint’, we think of a spiritual superhero of sorts who never makes any mistakes. Then we contrast this with our own lives, which are seemingly riddled with failures and sin. Incredibly, the Bible defines a tzaddik as the nearly exact opposite of what modern society would have us believe,
כִּי שֶׁבַע יִפֹּול צַדִּיק וָקָם
“…for a righteous man falls seven times, and rises up again.” Proverbs 24:17
R’ Shraga Simmons says,
“The Tzaddik falls seven times and gets up.” The definition of a Tzaddik is not someone who never makes a mistake, but rather someone who, although he may fail, does not give up. . . Aish.com, Make the Omer Count, R. Shraga Simmons
“In Jacob’s famous dream, God shows him a vision of a ladder reaching toward heaven. Spiritual growth, like climbing a ladder, must be one step at a time . . . spiritual growth is “two steps forward and one step back.” We will inevitably have setbacks. What‘s important is that we’re heading in the right direction.” Aish.com, Make the Omer Count, R. Shraga Simmons
Angels need the Ladder because ascending to heaven happens one step at a time. We need the Ladder too.
THE GOLDEN DOVE
R’ Yitzhak Breiter, in his incredible work, The Seven Pillars of Faith, writes that through the Soul of the Messiah, the Ultimate Tzaddik, “all devotions rise up to Heaven.” He writes that the Tzaddik reveals prayer, as he is the embodiment of prayer,
“He reveals prayer, as it is written: “And I am prayer” (Psalms 109:4).” R’ Yitzhak Breiter, Seven Pillars of Faith, Seventh Pillar: The Tzaddik, Breslov.org
As the Zohar says, the Ladder is “prayer” which is the connection between Heaven and Earth. This is illustrated by a story of the Besht,
“The Baal Shem Tov was once praying with his Hasidim. That day he prayed with great concentration, not only word by word, but letter by letter, so that the others finished long before he did. At first they waited for him, but before long, they lost patience and one by one they left.” Later the Baal Shem Tov came to them and said: While I was praying, I ascended the ladder of your prayers all the way into Paradise. As I ascended, I heard a song of indescribable beauty. At last I reached the palace of the Messiah, in the highest heavens, known as the Bird’s Nest. The Messiah was standing by his window peering out at a tree of great beauty.“…I followed his gaze and saw that his eyes were fixed on a golden dove, whose nest was in the top branches of that tree. That is when I realized that the song pervading all of Paradise was coming from that golden dove. And I understood that the Messiah could not bear to be without that dove and its song for as much as a moment. Then it occurred to me that if I could capture the dove, and bring it back to this world, the Messiah would be sure to follow. So I ascended higher, until I was within arm’s reach of the golden dove. But just as I reached for it, the ladder of prayers collapsed.” Tree of Souls, The Ladder of Prayers, Howard Schwartz, Oxford University Press, pg. 490