Maybe I’m Amazed: Vayetze 2022

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: How easy is it for you to be shocked? Is it more difficult for you than it used to be?

As Jacob awakens from his famous dream, he is shocked that he had just encountered God while stopping for the night:

The Pitch: “Shaken, [Jacob] said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the abode of God, and that is the gateway to heaven.’” – Genesis 28:17

Swing #1: “This feeling of wonder and awe in the presence of God lies at the root of all mysticism. It is different from the experience of God working through man, history, or nature; this is God in His very essence, ultimately incomprehensible to human beings but nevertheless experienced by them.” – Reuven Hammer, Entering Jewish Prayer: A Guide to Personal Devotion and the Worship Service

Swing #2: “On the first leg of his journey, [Jacob] spent the night at Luz on the border of the Promised Land in what seemed an unremarkable spot but was in fact a Canaanite shrine, a maqom.” – Karen Armstrong, The Case For God

Swing #3: “Jerusalem was described by Jacob as “the Gate of Heaven”. All of the earth’s blessings for the dimension of space flow to Jerusalem and from there emanate to the rest of the universe. Jerusalem is an international city. All nations desire a foothold within her walls, because spiritually all sources of life for all countries are here within her streets.” – Rabbi Zev Reichman, Flames of Faith

Late-Inning Questions: How do our commentators understand the significance of the place Jacob dreams his dream? Is the place special because of what happens there, or does the event transcend its location? Do we do enough to preserve history’s most important places?

On-Deck at Temple Beth Tzedek: A special Hannukah sale for students will take place at the Community Religious School (Congregation Shir Shalom) Sunday, December 11th, from 9:00-11:15am. Parents will be welcome to shop from 8:30-9:30am and 11:30am-noon. It will include Judaica shops from Temple Beth Tzedek, Temple Beth Zion and Congregation Shir Shalom.

The Big Inning at the End: Speaking of historical sites, it stunned me that the location of home plate of Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota — where Sandy Koufax pitched the L.A. Dodgers to a World Series victory in 1965 — is unceremoniously marked with a small plaque on the floor of a hallway in the middle of the Mall of America. That spot deserves a bigger monument.

Shabbat Shalom!