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Spirituality

But Wait, There’s More!

In Vayeitzei, Jacob encounters God in a dream, thus advancing the biblical journey of our people learning from and following the instruction of God. After the biblical era, our Sages found a way to expand our understanding of the Torah and its teachings. 

D'var Torah By: 
The Awesome Presence of God
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Dan Moskovitz

In Vayeitzei, Jacob learns that he is not the center of his own universe when he encounters God in a dream. Jacob’s understanding of God in this moment is really an understanding of himself as inspirable from the divinity that is all around him and within him.

A Strong Ladder to Spiritual Awareness

Parashat Vayeitzei opens with Jacob journeying from Beersheba to Haran. As the sun sets, he decides to spend the night outside in “the place,” hamakom, where he happens to be, resting his head on one of the stones that he has found there. The biblical text doesn’t tell us the name of this place. Presumably, Jacob himself does not know it. Yet it becomes clear in the next few verses that where exactly this place is and what it is called isn’t important. For after Jacob wakes up the next morning from a dream in which he encounters God, he comes to the life-changing realization that the Eternal is present in this place. “God is here although I didn’t know it initially,” Jacob thinks to himself. “Indeed, this awe-inspiring place is none other than the house of God” (paraphrasing Genesis 28:16-17).

D'var Torah By: 
The Challenge of Striving for Spirituality
Davar Acher By: 
Lisa J. Grushcow

How do we feel God’s presence? It’s easy to envy Jacob’s dream, and his waking realization that he has been close to the Divine.

Arthur Green, in his Introduction to the Zohar, describes mystical experiences as, “striving toward oneness, a breaking down of illusory barriers to reveal the great secret of the unity of all being.” I think about Jacob’s experience in that light. It is a moment in which he understands that he is part of something bigger, and that his life’s journey has meaning.

Opening the Well of Interpretation

In Jewish tradition, wells give life by providing not only water, but also a meeting place for our ancestors to find their mates. In Vayeitzei, Jacob met his beloved Rachel at a well.

D'var Torah By: 
Jacob’s Internal and External Strength
Davar Acher By: 
Benjamin Sharff

Rabbi David Segal provides us with seven interpretations of the well where Jacob met Rachel as a metaphor for helping us to better understand the breadth and depth of Torah.

Finding the Spiritual Within Us

What is the most common word used in discussions about religion today? You might think it is "God," "prayer," or "faith." We hear those words a lot.

D'var Torah By: 
Fresh Voices
Davar Acher By: 
Kenneth S. Weiss

As president of the University of Houston Campus Ministers Association, I scheduled a discussion of our role as campus ministers at our most recent meeting.

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