Chavarah- Jewish Community Learning

A blog of Jewish study and traditions. Notes from classes: Torah Study with Rabbi Marder, Toledot and Shabbaton as well as other details found of interest.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Building a Pillar at a Holy Place

Torah Study
Genesis 35 13-15

Pillar of stone. Beth El
Marking the place where God has made manifest,

God departs...goes up.
What does this mean?
Midrash... Even God takes Gods leave ...say goodbye. 
Gods presence comes from the patriarchs..the patriarchs are the "chariots of God"
Also a hint of the future when there will be the golden calf built...God leaves.

Repetition about Beth El and building a pillar.
Place is important... There is a place where you meet God...because of what happened there.  But the modern interpretation emphasizes that the place can be anywhere God communicates with people. 

Pillar anointed with oil...
Ch 28 Jacob already built a marker... Story repeats...
Is it the same place or not? Or does Jacob call it Beth El but it is a different place.

Ritual act is the anointing.,, problem in that you are only supposed to do this type ritual on an is tied to idol worship so dangerous... Hirsch  setting up a matsevah...holy to a person but difference between appreciation for what God did for you vs giving of a sacrifice.  Not enough just to set up stone...but have to do things in the world to make it a holy place to truly make it a Beth El.

Marking of a particular place as a place to of graves.  Is it important to have a particular place?  For a holy place or as a place of remembrance. 

Modern have the ability to mark in place and time...permanent documentation.   


  • At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Jeff Rivera said…

    Torah is probably one of the oldest religious scriptures. It is nice to see it being explained in quite detail. Though I did not understood much of it. Hence I would like to ask some questions in my effort to better understand the terms and concepts being mentioned here.

    Who are the patriarchs? Are you talking about prophets like Abraham, David, Moses etc.

    What is this story about Beth El and building a pillar? I had heard some where, According to Judaism, Beth El is the house of God, is it correct?

    I am sorry for sounding like a stupid, when asking these questions, as I am always very curious and can not stop myself from asking questions.

  • At 10:17 PM, Blogger Chavarah said…

    It takes a lot of dedication to study and try to understand all the episodes in Torah - and it is usually best if you study with a group or a knowledgeable teacher.
    Patriarchs that we usually refer to are Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel and Leah. That is Abraham, the first one to accept Adonai as the one God and his descendants that followed his tradition.
    Beth El is a special place where Jacob communicates with God - in two different encounters. It is that places like this are special and it is appropriate for him to build a pillar to mark the place. Suggest you study the whole story of Jacob and his family to try to better understand his complexities and what we can learn from that.

    Hope you can get the answers you want and also find a good group to study with and explore all the fascinating interpretations of Torah.


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