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Miah MacDonald - Dvar Torah

My Torah portion tells the story of Jacob and takes us through his journey to his uncle Laban's household where Jacob ultimately marries Laban's daughters Rachel and Leah. On his journey Jacob had a dream of a ladder connecting heaven and earth with angels ascending and descending it.

We all dream, some of us dream bigger than others. Jacobs dream might have seemed like a small dream but it was one with so much meaning behind it. It could symbolise so many different things. Different people interpret things differently. I believe this dream means that Jacob is finally connected to god and finally believes he's real. Jacob's response to his dream teaches us to turn our dreams into visions and our visions into reality.

For as long as I can remember I’ve struggled with anxiety but I have recently started to use the image of a ladder to help keep me up on my two feet. The ladder helped me take my first step and speak my first word.

I see the ladder as my parents while Jacob sees the ladder as a connection to

heaven and earth. I lean on them and they keep me up - but as I stand here I realise that I cannot lean on that ladder anymore. I need to climb up the ladder and as I climb up further and further I will have to make my own decisions. I need to take responsibility for my actions and own up to my mistakes with Hashem by my side.

Further reflecting on my portion we learn that during his time at his uncle Laban’s household, Jacob encounters Rachel, Laban’s daughter tending sheep and wishes to marry her. After working for Laban for 7 years to Jacobs surprise, Laban tricks him into marrying his eldest daughter Leah. I ask myself why Laban tricked Jacob.I ask myself why people lie and manipulate situations. Maybe it’s because they themselves are struggling or because they have lost their way and have their own selfish needs.

Ultimately for me the lesson lies in Jacobs reaction to the cards that he was dealt. Jacob didn't play the game back; he could have turned on Laban like Laban turned on him but he didn't. He respected Laban and indirectly he respected Hashem and in the end he got what he so dearly wanted - he married Rachel and they were blessed with a miracle - a beautiful son.

This blessing and the lesson that it reveals, that Hashem is a comfort to us all is something that I will treasure as I move forward in my life.


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