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Ladders to Heaven

By Shalom Pollack
11/10/2013, 11:11 PM

This past Shabbat I took part in what I  sense  is a growing  trend , "Shabbat  of the Torah portion Vayishlach" in Bet El.

Bet El took the idea from its sister bibical  site and pioneer community - Hevron, where tens of thousands gather each year on the "Shabbat of the Torah portion Caye Sarah" commemorating the purchase of that famous site by Abraham.

It was in Bet El that our patriarch, Jacob, on the run from his vengeful brother Eisav, lied down to sleep placing a stone under his head. That is where  he had the famous dream of ladders and angels. When he awoke,   he received God's promise for his safety while in exile and a guranteee of the Land of Israel for his descendents.

As a tour guide, I encourage my guests to visit these sites, cradles of our history, faith and pride.

Part of the Shabbat program included a tour of the archeological remains uncovered near the place where Jacob slept. Not bad. Where  were you on Shabbat ? Oh , I visited the place where Jacob  was visited by God.  How many centuries was this just a page in our Bible? Today it is an accessable and integral  part of our renewed home land and renewed people.

Ah, the people of Bet El.. True sos of Israel/Jacob

I was hosted by an amazng family, early pioneers of  the renewed Jewish presence in this ancient site.

If Jacob protected himself from the wild animals of the night  by surrounding him self with stones, his children today  also live within fences  as the dangers lurk just beyond - where  the houses of Ramallah and  terror  loom.

 My hosts were  a poster family  for the miracle of Israel's  rebrth. He, light complexioned , from LA.  She, very dark from India. Their seven  beautiful  - (none  resembling their dad ) either in elite amy units or preparing themselves to  serve the  people of Israel - the leaders of tommorow no doubt.  At the table, we were discussing a particular incident in the Bible. Their eight year old son helped us with the source we were looking for. They truly  live their Bible form a very early age. Yes, these are the one's who stand in the  way of  peace in the Mid East and perhaps the whole world. Just ask Obama   and  Kerry..

Did you know that the Temple of Yeroban Ben Navot was found  near the site  of Jacob''s dream .Makes snse. Yeroban  broke away  from the Kingdom of Judah  and set up his own competing temple next  to the holy and popular site. With the golden calf in Bet El on his southern border, he challanged the authority of Jerusalem. Those temple remains  have been found!

  It is no surprise that  the Christians and Muslims have buit their shrines next to the site where Jacob slept.And because it was holy to so many, they all  left the lone  oak tree nesr by  standing  - for over one tousand years - the oldest in Israel!

First and Second temple period burial caves , and wine vats  and oil vats are icing on the cake.

Actually the cherry on the cake are the amazing pioneers who have returned to this hallowed ground after two  thousand years. This is more than proof of the past, this is prophesy, this is the fututrre today.

On the bus from Jerusalem  to Bet El, the driver , who was a local resident took a personal interest in the passangers who needed to get off at a particualr address. Jolly, patient , he was the calling card of the spirit of the destination and final port.

He took good care of me and let me off where he believed I needed. As I alighted from the bus I was greeted by a stranger (turns out he lived   a few blocks from me in Brooklyn before we both came home to Israel). He saw that I was looking about , seeking direction. He asked me  for the name of my  hosts  - and said hop in to his car. Next thing I knew I was in the lap of the most gracious hosts.

After shabbat dinner ( it was really  a pity to  have to swallow the food ..) . I went to the synagoge for study. Upon leaving - I got lost.. Lukily ,three local girls were chatting and i told them I was lost . What do you think they did? Of course, like our Matriarchs... showered me with kindness and accompanied me back to my hosts  safe and sound.  These are the settlers,  threats to peace!  Remember the Bizzarro world comics? This is it  The world is topsy turvey. But do you know what? This too is  a prophesy. The prophet said " In the time of redemption, good will be called bad and bad will be called good"

I have indeed  experinced the good  -   and the bad? A mere  stone's throw from the fence of Bet El ,   and God's promise to Jacob.

Worth a visit

What a country!

Shalompollacktours.co.il