Listening for God’s Voice

Yael Eckstein  |  November 10, 2021

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” — Genesis 28:16-17

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Vayetze, which means “and he left,” from Genesis 28:10–32:3.

Have you ever thought about the special status of the Holy Land, the land of Israel, and specifically the city of Jerusalem?

Think about it. God chose one land as the place where His presence would be felt more than any other. And within that land, He chose one city where His presence is felt even more than in the rest of the land. And within that city, God chose one place, the Temple Mount, where He would be present more than any other spot on earth.

Of course, God is everywhere. But by designating one special place to connect with Him, God gave us a way to focus on Him, on His plan for His people, and on the glorious history that is connected to that special land. If all lands and all cities are equally holy, then none are holy. We only feel holiness when there are differences. 

Listening for God’s Voice

But to feel God’s presence in the land of Israel, in Jerusalem, and at the site where the Temple once stood, we need to be open to it. We need to be listening for God’s voice. If we’re distracted by our own worldly concerns, we may not notice.

Jacob learned this lesson in this week’s Torah portion. When Jacob first arrived at the place where he slept, he did not know that this place was special. Only after hearing God’s promise that He would give Jacob and his descendants “the land on which you are lying” (Genesis 28:13), did he wake up.

At that point he recognized that there was something special about the place where he had fallen asleep. According to Jewish tradition, this was the location that would later be the site of both Temples, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

We must keep listening for God’s voice. Only then will we see Him where we didn’t see Him before.

Your Turn:

Take a moment this week to spend some time in solitude and quiet so you can be listening for God’s voice to you.

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