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  • Writer's pictureRabbi David Paskin



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From Rabbi David

Jacob's dream of a ladder stretching to heaven with angels going up and down is iconic. So much so that we've ignored a fundamental question: Shouldn't the angels have been going DOWN and UP instead of up and down? Don't we imagine angels dwelling in the heavens and visiting us on earth? Why would they start their journey down on earth - then go up and then come back down?

Each Friday night we celebrate the angels that accompany us throughout our lives. Rashi (11th century) explains that each angel has a specific location in which they are able to do their job. Some angels work just in the land of Israel while others work only outside the land of Israel. And so since Jacob was about to leave the land of Israel, his "Israeli" angels were going back up and his "outside of Israel" angels were coming down to accompany him.

I love the imagery of being accompanied by angels. I also love the idea that the angels in our story started by going down and only after reaching the bottom - could they go up. Sometimes you have to start by going "down" before you can go "up". Some of the best learning comes out of failure - falling "down" as it were. As we accompany your children on their journeys we want them to have a safe place to "go down" - to fail so that they can begin the journey back up again. We will always stand by their side as Jacob's angels did. We'll be their "Gan Sinai" angels while you are their "outside of Gan" angels.

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