> Weekly Torah Portion > Beginner > Art of Revelation

Jacob's Ladder

Vayetzei (Genesis 28:10-32:3 )

by Yoram and Meira Raanan

"Jacob's Ladder," 2014, acrylic on canvas, 90 x 70 cm.

He arrived at the place and spent the night there, because the sun had set ... and he lay down to sleep there. He had a vision in a dream... of a ladder standing on the ground, whose top reached up to heaven. ... God's angels were going up and down on it. And behold, he saw God standing over him, and He said, "I am God, Lord of Abraham your father, and the Lord of Isaac; I will give to you and to your descendants the land upon which you are lying…All the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants." (Genesis 28:11-14)

The midrash describes how man, adam, was created from adamah, earth. Adam (man), adamah (earth), and adom (red) all come from the same Hebrew root word.

Notice how Jacob's body is one with the red earth upon which he lies. His face, however, looks heavenward, mirroring the way mankind is created in the image of God, blessed with the gift of imagination (adameh, I will imagine) and the capacity for prophetic vision.

The contrast between the earthy reds and spiritual blues reflects both the physical and spiritual blessings Jacob received in his dream. The white ladder with the movement of angels symbolizes Jacob's ability to ascend, step by step, and attain a deep understanding of the Divine.


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