This week’s Torah reading, Vayetzei, opens with Jacob as he as he flees from the Promised Land and ends with him fleeing from Laban. It covers about 20 years. It begins with a dream and ends with a dream. It begins as the sun sets and ends as the sun rises in the morning.
Jacob leaves his father with nothing and returns with two wives Rachel and Leah, his concubines Zilpah and Bilhah, 11 sons and one daughter. He was reconciled with Laban his Father in Law with whom he had a covenanted agreement. (Rachel, the great love of his life, would die when Benjamin, his 12th son, was born.) He was wealthy and would reconcile with Esau.
He had learnt from Laban, when he was tricked into marrying Leah, that:
It is not done so in our place to give the younger one before the firstborn
The message of what he had done to Esau may have come back to haunt him!
Towards the end of his life, in front of Pharaoh, he would say:
Few and hard have been the years of my life
For all of us there are pivotal, sometimes defining moments in our lives. They may be of our own making and stem from our own decisions. They may be as result of events beyond our control. They can also be totally unexpected encounters.
At the time of the dream about the speckled goats Jacob uses a dream to spur Rachel into moving away. Jacob claims the presence of God saying:
an angel of God said to me in a dream, 'Jacob!' And I said, 'Here I am'
For Jacob, the episode with the ladder to heaven comes in a dream, but he is aware of the presence of God. “And Jacob awakened from his sleep, and he said, "Indeed, the Lord is in this place, and I did not know”.
How do we know if we have encountered God in our ability to dream dreams and to have visions?
Young or old, it is never too late to turn our dreams into realities.