How like a human being. Yaakov has an incredible dream, and upon awakening, declares that Gd must be in that place. (We'll save for another time the discussion as to why Yaakov's place-specific declaration is really not as universalistic as we often try to make it.) And then, what does he proceed to do? He strikes a conditional bargain with Gd. If Gd will do this, and if Gd will do that, then this Gd shall be Yaakov's Gd.
One would hope that a revelatory experience, even in a dream, would yield more faith than that. Yaakov is a skeptic. He wants proof. The dream wasn't enough.
Then why utter his declaration at all that Gd is in that place? Turnabout would be fair play, and Gd should get to sing Eliza Doolittle's words "show me!" However, Yaakov beats Gd to the punch, and makes his conditional bargain. And Gd remains silent.
I can imagine Gd's frustration at this point. Luckily, Gd is learning to be more patient by t his time. Still, imagine the missing text.
Gd: Hey, you just said that this place is my abode. You said it was awesome! And then you hedge your bet. What gives?
Yaakov: Well, I...
Gd: Look, buddy. When I said to Noah, build an ark, he built it. When I said to your grandfather Avraham to pick up and move to a new land, he went.
Yaakov: Yeah, and when you asked him to kill my dad...
Gd: I'm not going to talk about that right now. Quit changing the subject.
Yaakov: Well, too bad. Because I want to talk about it. Granddad was ready to kill Dad just because you said so. I don't think that was very nice of you.
Gd: Since when is nice part of my job description?
Yaakov: You can say that again.
Gd: Why you little...... (to himself--Relax. Count to ten. Get a hold of yourself. I will not smite. I will not smite. I will not smite.)
Yaakov: You were going to smite me just then, weren't you?
Gd: Well, I didn't, did I?
Yaakov: That's not the point. Now maybe you can see why I might want this to be more of a two-way street.
Gd: Well, you have a point. Still, I am the Master of All Things, and you can trust me to keep my promises. So I will take care of you.
Yaakov: Never hurts to have a little insurance.
Gd: You've got a point there.
Yaakov. Yeah. See how it works? It's mutual. I offer you something, and in return you offer me something. Isn't that better than just a one-sided demanding on your part? You catch more flies with sugar. We humans down here have figured that out. We make treaties and covenants with each other all the time like that.
Gd: Hmmm. This covenant idea is intriguing. I'll have to mull it over for a few centuries and see if I like it.
Yaakov: Happy to share my smarts with my Creator. They are, after all, Your smarts, aren't they?
Gd: Now you're just trying to sweet talk me.
Yaakov: Caught me. But remember-you made me as I am!
Gd: Don't pull that line on me. There's this little matter of free will I gave all of you (to Gdself-am I may be beginning to regret it.) OK, have it your way. You put that rock up there, and I'll make sure you get back home safely. But if I do that, then you have to obey me and love me and worship me, alright?
Yaakov: You got a deal, big guy. Well, I'm gonna be off now.
Gd: Have a great time. We'll talk again later.
Gd: (to Gd's self) Thinks he put one over on me, does he? Well, wait until he sees all that's going to happen to him over the next few decades. At our next encounter, I'll show him who's boss, and wrestle his hip right out of its socket! Maybe that'll teach him some humility. Maybe not. He's a stubborn one, not quiet like his father. Clever, too, though he sometimes uses that cleverness for the wrong things. Well, after all, only I am perfect, and even I have made a few mistakes. Ooh, I hope I didn't say that out loud.
Gd wanders off, muttering to Gd's self-now let's see. How would this covenant thing work? They worship me, I make the rains fall in their time....
Modern midrash or complete fiction? You decide.
©2003 by Adrian A. Durlester
Some Previous Musings on the same parasha
Vayetze 5761-Change in Perspective (or Change, In Perspective)
Vayetze 5760-Taking Gd's Place
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