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Speaking of Jacob’s ladder (the original “Stairway to Heaven”) it comes up in tomorrow’s lectionary. There is some great rabbinic commentary on this episode in Jacob’s enforced flight from home to escape the wrath of Esau whom he diddled of his birthright. Jacob camps out in the open and has a dream – angels travelling up and down a stairway or ramp between heaven and earth. Jacob hears God’s voice reinforcing his role as the heir of Abraham’s blessing. Jacob awakens overcome with awe and marks the place as Bethel (“House of God”). What do the angels mean? The rabbis variously see the angels as representing our choices to move towards or away from God. Sometimes these choices are deliberate, other times they are simply to be recognised as movements within our soul. Whatever, Jacob has a way to go before he is able to appropriate a wounded integrity that makes reconciliation with Esau possible. His dream, however, is worth contemplating when I’m in flight from something I’m trying to avoid.

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