Where Heaven Meets Earth

Where Heaven Meets Earth

There is no paragraph break in the Torah scroll between Genesis 28:10 and Genesis 32:3. These chapters in Scripture form one lengthy paragraph in the Torah. Interestingly, the phrase “angels of God” only appear twice in all of Scripture; once at the beginning of this paragraph and once at the end (28:12; 32:2). Furthermore, the Hebrew verb “paga” (encountered) appear at the beginning and at the end of this segment of Scripture. There is a lesson to be learned from this literary technique that ties together the opening and the close of this unusually lengthy paragraph.

In the opening of this paragraph Jacob encounters “the place.” He comes across a particular place where he envisions angels of God going ascending to heaven and descending from heaven to earth. Jacob is overawed and he exclaims “this is the gate of heaven.”

After the encounter with “the place” Jacob journeys to the land of Aram. Jacob marries and establishes a family. Throughout his 20 year sojourn, he labored for a dishonest employer yet Jacob didn’t stray from the standard of truth and honesty (Genesis 31:37-41).

After 20 years Jacob leaves the land of Aram and heads back to the land of Canaan. Here the angels of God find a household that is established on the foundations of truth and Godliness. At this point it is not Jacob who encounters the angels. The angels encounter Jacob and his household. It is the turn of the angels to be overawed. When the angels seek God they now need to come to the household that is loyal to God and to His truth. For this is where heaven meets earth.

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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