Rabbi Fishel's Blog - Chabad - Naples
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Dear Friends, 

In this week’s Torah portion we read the story of Jacob's dream and the famous ladder with its feet on the ground and head in the heavens. "And behold the angels of G-d were ascending and descending on it."

You might ask… do angels really need a ladder? We all know angels have “wings”, not feet. So why would they need a ladder?

There is a beautiful message here.

In climbing heavenward, one does not necessarily need wings, fancy leaps and bounds. There is a ladder, a spiritual route clearly mapped out for us to be traversed step-by-step, one rung at a time. The pathway to Heaven is gradual, methodical and eminently manageable.

Many people are discouraged from even beginning a spiritual journey because they think it needs that huge leap of faith. They cannot see themselves reaching a degree of spiritual commitment which to them seems otherworldly. And yet, with the gradual step-by-step approach, one finds that the journey can be embarked upon and that the destination aspired to is not in outer space.

A teacher once asked us the following question: "If two people are on a ladder, one at the top and one on the bottom, who is higher?" The class thought it was a pretty dumb question -- until our wise teacher explained that they were not really capable of judging who was higher or lower until they first ascertained in which direction each was headed.

If the fellow on top was going down and the fellow on the bottom was going up, then conceptually, the one on the bottom was actually higher.

And so, my friends, it doesn't really matter what your starting point is or where you are on the ladder of spiritual refinement and consciences. As long as you are moving in the right direction, as long as you are going up, you will, succeed in climbing the stairway to heaven. And from heavenly heights we see for sure that all that glitters is not gold.

Shabbat Shalom with Love & Light,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos 

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