Rabbi Steven Pik-Nathan for Jewish Reconstructionist Communities
Connecting with the Divine
I would imagine that if any of us were to have a similar experience we too would proclaim the awesomeness of the place. We might also have wished we had not gone to sleep. Rabbis and Sages throughout the centuries have commented on this story and on Jacob's reaction to his dream. Rabbi Lawrence Kushner wrote a book a number of years ago entitled "God Was in This Place and I, I Did Not Know" (Jewish Lights Publishing). This book focuses on the many interpretations of this single verse. The repetition of the word "I" that Kushner uses in the title is intentional. In the Hebrew if Jacob had simply said 'lo yadati' it would mean, "I didn't know. "The additional use of the word 'anochi' (I) before 'lo yadati' can therefore seem superfluous and be translated as "I, I did not know." However, tradition teaches that no word in the Torah is superfluous and so the Sages try to deduce the meaning of the additional "I."
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