Thursday, November 22, 2007

Jacob's journey from sunset to sunrise

Immediately before his dream of the ladder and it's angels, as Jacob departs his parents home, the Torah tells us that Jacob went to sleep because the sun was setting (Gen 28:11). Almost three decades later, as he is about to re-enter his homeland, and immediately after his struggle with an anonymous 'man', the Torah tells us that the sun rose (Gen 32:32).

Perhaps the Torah's use of sunset and sunrise imagery should be understood as a description of the spiritual dimension Jacob was in, in the two stages of his life described in the story. Having left his homeland, the sun sets as any hope of realizing his father's blessing of prosperity in his homeland is forced into hibernation. The sun rises again when he emerges undefeated after struggling with an anonymous assailant, only now prepared for the confrontation with his brother.

Also interesting is the Torah's use of the words "Vayizrach-lo hashemesh", which can be translated as "the sun rose for him"

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