In this week’s Parsha, Yaakov has a dream. The Torah then states, “Yaakov woke up from his sleep and said, ‘Surely Hashem is present in this place and I did not know,’” (28:16). Two Pesukim later, the Torah writes, “Yaakov woke up early in the morning and took the stone that he placed around his head and set it up as a pillar” (28:18). What is happening here? Did Yaakov go to sleep two times? Furthermore, why does Yaakov promise to give a percentage of his wealth to Hashem after the dream?
In order to answer this question, we must analyze the dream Yaakov had. In his dream Hashem promises him protection and the land. Why does Hashem feel the need to reassure Yaakov that land, one of the most unspiritual things, will be given to him? The first time Yaakov woke up he did not wake up physically; rather, it was a spiritual wakeup. Yaakov realized how much potential land he had, and as he later says, “This is the gate to heaven.” By working the land, we can make it more spiritual and do Mitzvot with it, and it will be “the gate to heaven.” Similarly, money can become spiritual when it is given as Tzedakah. This is why Yaakov promises a percentage of his wealth, because any worldly item can be made spiritual. This is what Yaakov teaches us: we can make anything we own spiritual, and it is important to give all of what we own some spiritual purpose in order to make those items much more meaningful.