Yaakov Avinu

Lit out in a hurry,

His father and mother

Had good cause for worry;

Incense smoke burned their eyes,

Embittered their lives,

By Eisav’s Canaani

Idol-worshiping wives.


Yaakov’s life plan, diametric

To these daughters of the land;

So, he was sent to seek a wife

From his mother Rivkah’s clan.

Rivkah’s prophecy also

Led her to discover

Eisav’s scheming

To ambush and murder his brother.


Yaakov learned in yeshivah

For a 14-year span,

Then went on to Rivkah’s family.

But, when reaching Charan,

Yaakov realized that he’d passed

The place of his father’s prayer.

He turned back so that

He could also pray there.

Without a moment’s hesitation

Back Yaakov strove;

Har HaMoriyah went to meet him –

The mountain traveled towards Yaakov!

After praying, he was ready

To resume his journey.

But night had fallen, suddenly

Hashem had the sun set

Before its time

To show the tzadik a ladder.

There, he watched angels climb;

Bavel, Media, the mighty Yavan

Reached their peaks,

Then descended,

Their empires gone;

But Edom’s sar kept climbing

Higher into the heights;

Yaakov could see no end

To exile’s dark, dangerous nights.


In Pri Etz Chaim,

Rabbi Isaac Luria,

The Arizal,

Saw Jewish prayer

As a portal

Comprised of four parts.

Each section

Corresponds, in ascending progression.

The first: What we’re made of,

Our personal fabric.

The second:

Motives driving us,

What makes us tick.

The third: Surrender of all

We claimed to possess,

To the Divine vision of life

We pray to express.

The fourth phase,

Our identity realigned,

To confer

A transparent conduit

Like the angel’s ladder.


We keep going, like Yaakov,

Endure difficulties,

Build our ladder of faith

In daily degrees.

Edom’s sar may reach the stars,

But his reign will not stand,

He’ll be taken down

In time,

By HaKadosh Baruch Hu’s

Own Hand.

On the heels of this,


What a world it will be!

Connected to Heaven,

Filled with G-d’s mercy.


By Sharon Marcus