54”X48” oil on canvas 1989

Two prophetic events of cosmic significance shaped Jacob’s life. The first occurred, when departing his father’s house to begin a new life, he “encountered the place”. We know the place as Mount Moriah, where Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac and where the Temple would later be built. There Jacob arranged twelve stones in a circle (shown in the bottom canvas) to protect him while he slept.

In his dream a ladder rose to heaven from earth and he saw God. God gave him the land, and promised that a great people would descend from him: ”all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you and by your offspring….”

After many years, returning to the home of his birth with his wives and children, he had a second prophetic encounter. He wrestled with “a man” all night until dawn.3 The sages explain this mysterious event as a confrontation between Jacob and the guardian angel of his evil twin brother Esau,4 but in a larger sense, as representing the eternal struggle between man’s capacity for Good and the evil forces which want to destroy him spiritually. When the conflict ended, Jacob had overcome his inner ”Esau” and forged a new identity. 5 The man said: ”No longer will it be said that your name is Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with the Divine and with man and have overcome.”

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