On Thanksgiving and Jacob’s Ladder by Cliff Mazer, Ph.D. (submitted to the Atlanta Jewish Times)
In a world of increasing anxiety and competition to “succeed”, particularly in Jewish households who esteem success and high achievement, Rachel Lavictoire’s essay, “Climbing the Ladder” really hits the nail on the Home Depot-like head. Interpreting the correct biblical meaning of Jacob’s dream of an ornate “ladder” with angels ascending and descending to heaven is nearly as complex and up for interpretation as my post Thanksgiving fantasy of going to Costco on Black Friday to buy a 4-pack of Tums. I thought I just wanted to get some needed relief.
According to the law of parsimony, it is always advisable to seek the simplest yet most elegant explanation to any complex puzzle or personal problem. As a Psychologist who has helped my clients interpret their dreams for over 30 years, I try to do the same. We are all individuals under God, and there is no single “dream” book or dictionary that fits all. Two things are obvious about Jacob’s ladder. Like all ladders it is composed of steps, rungs or “little bites” as Rachel’s father suggested. All of us do better to take life one step or bite at a time, and if the bite is a particularly good one, like being together with family or friends on Thanksgiving or Hannukah, all the better to savor it fully.
Second, ladders or stairways to heaven, whether in the Bible or in wildly popular Led Zeppelin songs denote the need to be mindful. Pop Stars, Patriarchs and pre-med students are equally advised to center themselves and become more of a “rock than a roll”. There is much to “wonder” about in this hard to fathom world full of “sturm und drang” as well as daily stress and massive superstorms. We are challenged every day to take a few deep breaths, count our blessings, trust in the presence of God, and take one step at a time towards our goals, whether they be “lofty” or not. In my case I just want to overcome Thanksgiving indigestion and to do so in time for Hannukah.
Cliff Mazer, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist and humorist in Sandy Springs, Georgia. Contact: 404-932-7193
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