Weekly Drash - Vayetze
Compliments of First Fruits of Zion
Vayetze - ויצא : “And he went out”
Anointing from Heaven
Thought for the Week:
Jacob dreamed of a ladder to heaven. Messiah is the ladder. Apart from Him, none ascend. Though we may climb high indeed, the heavens are always infinitely higher. We must ascend upon a ladder that rests on earth and in heaven, and Messiah is such a ladder.
It is only as Jacob sleeps that the vision of the ladder is revealed to him and through him. In his sleep, angels ascend and descend upon him. God confirms the covenant to him while he slumbers with his head upon a stone. In the morning, he sets up this stone as a monument and anoints it with oil, a sign of Messiah, the Anointed One. Sleep represents death. Just as Jacob slept at Bethel, Messiah slept the sleep of death. It was through his sleep upon the stone that God reveals the ladder to heaven, which is Messiah’s atoning suffering and death (the descent) and His triumphant resurrection (the ascent). Angels ascend and descend upon Him, and when He rises up, He moves the stone, the monument of His resurrection, of His anointing—the stone from before His tomb.
The stone on which Jacob’s dreaming head had rested became for him the token of the promises bestowed in the dream. Jacob set up the stone to mark the spot where his encounter with God had occurred and to use it as a shrine. He intended to return there and worship God in the future.
To further consecrate the stone as a sacred site, Jacob poured out a libation of oil over the top. Pouring out oil in this manner is an anointing ceremony. This is the first anointing ceremony in the Torah. The anointing ceremony symbolizes a consecration by marking an object as separate. In this case, Jacob’s stone is no longer just a stone; it has been set apart for holy use. It is to be regarded as holy.
Later in the Torah, every implement and furnishing of the Tabernacle is consecrated through anointing. “And you shall anoint it, to consecrate it.” (Exodus 29:36) In the same way, the anointing of the pillar at Bethel sanctified it.
The anointed stone at Bethel alludes to Messiah because He is the Anointed One. Messiah means “Anointed One.” Perhaps Jacob anointed the stone with oil to indicate that in the future his descendents would be anointed to priesthood and kingship. Messiah is our anointed King and our High Priest.
From where did Jacob procure this anointing oil? According to his own testimony, when he left the land of Canaan he had nothing with him except the staff in his hand. (Genesis 32:10) One ancient Jewish tradition explains that he received the anointing oil directly from heaven.
Shavuah Tov! Have a Good Week!
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