Climbing Jacob’s Ladder

Climbing Jacob’s Ladder

Dear friend,

Please join us December 5th for a Shabbat morning program of music, Torah study, and friends!  I will lead our adult program of music, contemplation, and Torah study.
Tanya will lead our fun and educational childrens’ program, including singing, stories, activity, and edible art.
Kiddush lunch follows in honor of Deborah Letow’s birthday.
Program will be held outdoors & socially distanced.
Please RSVP at

Jacob’s Ladder

One of the famous images from this week’s parsha is Jacob’s Ladder.  After Jacob fled his home in Israel, on his way toward his uncle Laban’s house where he ultimately will meet his wives and make a family, the Torah states:

And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the ground and its top reached to heaven; and behold, angels of God were ascending and descending upon it.

One of the odd features of this verse is that the angels ascend first, and then descend; assuming angels come from heaven, one would expect them to come down and up!  Rashi’s explanation of this is a pshat (literal level) explanation: the angels who accompanied him through Israel don’t leave Israel, so they head back to heaven, and the angels who willa ccomapny him in exile come down to start their task.

The Ba’al Shem Tov, however, gives a more spiritual explanation:  in life, we never stand still.  Like the angels, we either grow spiritually and personally, or we drift backward, in spiritual entropy.  To combat this entropy, we need to make sure we grow every day, improving ourselves through learning something new, and through prayer that takes us deeper into our life project of self transformation.

How our school is different, #2: Not Dumbing it Down

When Hannah was small, she learned the alef-bet in preschool, then pre-k, then kindergarten.  She “learned” the same material 3 times!

Traditional Hebrew School is repetitive. How many times can you learn the same history of the same Holidays, re-learn Hebrew. Kids are bored.

Kol HaLev is different. We believe kids actually want substantive learning. In our text based classes, we look directly at the Torah and discuss its meaning; we learn Midrashic and Talmudic passages which are relevant and accessible, but which go beyond the pediatric Judaism so often presented in Hebrew Schools. The kids in our mitzvah class apply these texts by talking seriously and substantively about lashon hara, and how to stand up for themselves without shaming (tochecha), applying what they’ve learned to real situations in their lives.  We create educated Jews.

Support Vibrant Judaism on Giving Tuesday

Kol HaLev is committed to creating meaningful, joyous Jewish education and practice, and your support is vital in helping us accomplish this.  This Tuesday is “giving Tuesday,” and Facebook will be matching donations starting at 8 a.m. until donations run out.  Please consider making a contribution at on Tuesday morning.  Every donation helps.

Thank you, and have a wonderful Shabbat,

Rabbi David