Connections by Donny Manas

(2002/5763)

Parshat Vayetzei tells us about the dream that Yaakov has when he leaves Israel to go to the house of Lavan.  The Torah says “Vayachalom Vihenay Sulam Matzav Artza Virosho Magiya Hashomaima,” “And he dreamt, and behold!  A ladder was set earthward and its top reached heavenward” (28:12).  The Baal Haturim points out that the Gematria (numerical value) of the word Sulam, ladder, is equal to one hundred thirty six, which is the same Gematria as the word Kol, voice.  We can deduce from this symbolism that just as the ladder in Yaakov’s dream connected earth to heaven allowing the angels to go up and down, so to our voice is the mechanism that connects us to heaven.

The same deduction can be made in relation to the famous Tefilot of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.  We say on the High Holidays, “Uteshuva, Utefila, Utzedaka, Maavirim Et Roa Hagizeira,” “Repentance, prayer, and charity mitigate the evil decree.”  In most prayer books, the explanatory word Kol is on top of Tefillah, Tzom is on top of Teshuva, and Mamon is on top of Tzedaka.  The Gematria of all three words is equal to one hundred thirty six.  If we appreciate the power that these means of expression have to convey our needs directly to Hashem, and to arouse His compassion for us, we will certainly approach them far more seriously.

The word Sulam also has the Gematria of Sinai.  This teaches us that just as the ladder of Yaakov connected him directly to Hashem, the receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai connected Hashem and the Jewish people, and just as Yaakov lived his whole life with complete faith in Hashem, so should we.

The Yichud Prohibition – Part One: To whom does it Apply? by Rabbi Chaim Jachter

Pillars of Stone by Etan Bluman