Sometimes it takes a change in perspective to see things more clearly. Doing something, anything, different. For Jacob, in this week’s Torah portion, that meant using a rock as a pillow. Different, right?
And sometimes it takes something unusual, something unexpected, a surprise to make us see things more clearly. For Jacob, it this week’s Torah portion, it was a surprising dream: a ladder stretching to heaven, with angels going up and down. Up and down. Up first, as they inhabited the world with him, and then down. Unexpected. Enough to change his perspective.
He had no idea of the reality before him — nothing less than the presence of God before him, actually — and it took something unexpected to see it, a change in perspective to see things more clearly.
“Yesh Adonai B’makom Hazeh v’Anochi Lo Yadati: Surely God is in this place and I didn’t know it.”
That’s what he was missing. What are we missing, and how do we find it?
Maybe, like Jacob, we need a bit of physical distance.
Maybe, like Jacob, we need to see the bigger picture. Running away from his brother, from his parents, from the only home he had ever known, Jacob forgot about God’s promise. When we get stuck, we too lose sight of the forest.
And maybe, like Jacob, we need to reclaim our agency. His mother scripted his every move. His brother drove him from his home in fear. His father bestowed on him a blessing. Until this point, Jacob was a bystander in his own life. He now becomes an actor. Okay, so maybe he doesn’t always get those actions right — in fact, he very rarely gets those actions right — but they become his to make. How easy it is for us to blame others, too…we often need to reclaim our agency just like Jacob did.
Each of these things helps us to change our perspective. Each opens our eyes to a new world of possibilities. Each keeps us from missing the thing right before our eyes. Get some space. Realize the bigger picture. Reclaim your agency. May something as majestic as God’s very presence is waiting for you, too.