This week’s parsha post was written by Inbal Samin, the Director of the Yahel Social Change Program.
In this week’s Parsha, Vayetze, Jacob dreams of a ladder reaching up to heaven with angels “ascending and descending upon it.”
When he awakens, he declares “Indeed, the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it…This is the gate of heaven.” Alan Morinis, of the Mussar Institute, interprets the passage in this way:
“Jacob wasn’t referring to some special faraway place or an exalted shrine when he recognized that he was standing at the gate of heaven. It’s right here, he said, in this totally unremarkable place, now that I realize it. When consciousness awakens to the realization that life is a journey of the soul, and embraces life just as it is, right here, then we discover that, right now, we ourselves are standing at the foot of Jacob’s ladder.” (excerpt from Climbing Jacob’s Ladder)
This week the 12 participants in the Yahel Social Change Program began a journey into the world of Mussar, or “moral conduct,” a Jewish contemplative practice that seeks to balance our inner and outer worlds—or, in the words of Yahel Board member Rabbi Lisa Goldstein, “[to] do the internal work in order to better do the external work.”
Every two weeks, we will focus on a different middah or attribute, such as openness, humility and courage, discussing the meanings of these middot, how we can embody them in our own lives, and how they apply to our community and our work in Gedera.
We encourage you to join us in our practice!