Verse Gn28-12a presenting the dream Jacob had states
And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
We interpret this simply as meaning that there are two manifestations of God. In Temples
and Halls of Study man ascends to God while in profane places God descends to man.
Jacob had erroneouslly thought that God may only be found in situations of ascent. His dream taught
him that God can be found in situations of descent also. This ascent-descent theme manifests
itself in a variety of domains including immanence-transcendence, scholar approaches to God
vs. Chasidic approaches to God (through living a simple daily life),
Holy approaches to God vs profane approaches to God.
Rashi literally says The angels of Israel were ascending to heaven while the angels of non-Israel
lands came down to escort Jacob on his trip to Laban (who was not holy. We have chosen to interpret
this Rashi as using a good example of the holy-profane dichotomy presented in the last paragraph.
Israel-non-Israel is simply one good example of Holy approaches to God vs non-Holy
approaches to God. Rashi did not intend to exhaust the meaning of the verse in this particular holy-non-holy
approach but rather intended to illustate the underlying meaning with a good example.
The botton line is as follows: In rule #9, spreadsheets we see there is a 14 year gap between Jacob's departure from Beer
Sheva and his arrival in Charan. Jacob camps in the middle of nowhere but sees God in a dream and
concludes that God is here even though he didn't expect it. In rule 10 - symbolism
we see that Jacob learns that God manifests himself
in two ways: 1) In Temples and Houses of Study man ascends to God; 2) In camping grounds and profane
places God descends to man to help him out. This second manifestation of God surprises Jacob who
hadn't been aware of it. Jacob's former life was the simple tent dwelling life,
the life of prayer-study relationship to God Gn25-27 -
Jacob erroneously thought God was only found there. But Jacob now finds God in the profane.
Jacob sees God manifesting in two ways - man ascends to God in Temples and houses of study but God descends
to help man in the profane.