Ladder of Light: A Healing Meditation on Parashat Vayetze

In the Torah portion Vayetze (Bereishit 28:10–17), our ancestor Jacob has an incredible dream about a ladder extending between heaven and earth. He sees angels going up and down the ladder and when he wakens he calls the place holy. The healing part of this meditation (in bold type) was written during a diagnostic procedure (MRI of the spine). Other body parts can be substituted in this section in accordance with an individual’s particular needs. This meditation can also be used as a reflection on the parashah by omitting the part on healing.


Sit quietly. Relax. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly. As you inhale, imagine that you are breathing in waves of healing energy. Feel these waves flow through your entire body. Feel this energy embrace your soul force and your spirit. As you exhale, envision any negative energy – any pain, tension, stress, fatigue – being released from your body, carried away on the soft wind of your breath. With every breath, feel the narrow places within you opening, expanding, becoming filled with waves of deep relaxation and healing energy. Feel this happening in your feet, legs, hips, hands, arms, shoulders, abdomen, spine, chest, neck, head, face.

Imagine you are on a journey – like the journey of our ancestor Jacob. It is the end of the day and you note the sun is setting on the horizon. As the sky changes from day to night, you notice the beauty of the sunset – the variety of colors painting the sky line. As the sky darkens, you find yourself a resting place. You make yourself comfortable in this place. You fall into a deep sleep. You begin to dream. In your dream, you note the dark night sky illuminated with a ladder of light spanning the space between heaven and earth. 

You note angels going up and down the ladder. Now envision these angels are all around you. They surround you and wrap you in a robe of pure light. A canopy of pure light shines down on you from above. Feel this Divine Light flow through you from your head to your feet, like a waterfall. Feel the light radiate all around you and within you. 

Now envision your spine as a ladder. See the individual vertebrae or bones of the spine as rungs on this ladder. Now envision angels going up and down this ladder. Feel how they bring soothing healing energy to your spine. Envision radiant healing light emanating from these angels. Note how this light fills your spine. Feel this healing light melt away any pain you are experiencing in your spine. Feel this healing light dissolving any anxiety and stress you are feeling about your spine. Feel how you are filled with calmness, serenity, total relaxation. Now envision the DNA molecules in each of the cells of your spine. See how these molecules are shaped like microscopic ladders. Envision microscopic angels going up and down and all around the ladder structure of these molecules. See how they bring radiant energy to every cell in your spine. Feel how this energy extends beyond your spine to fill your entire body. Feel your pain (stress, anxiety) ease as your cells become illuminated with this healing light.

Envision these little ladders merging to form one ladder of light within you, reaching upward, stretching between you and the heavens. Just as DNA is imprinted on your cells, this ladder of light is imprinted on your soul. This is where heaven and earth touch.

Know that, deep within you, there is a holy place, a place of light – a place of transformation and healing – HaMakom. Feel, sense, and know that you are a sacred space – a dwelling place for the Divine Presence. Know that, like Jacob, you are never alone in your sacred journey. Just as Jacob knew he was standing on holy ground, know that, wherever you are, you are always standing on holy ground. Know that the Eternal One is with you – at all places, at all times. 

Hold on to these images as you now become aware once more of your breath and the boundaries of your body. As you take a few deep breaths, become aware of the gentle rise and fall of your chest. Become aware once more of your presence in this room. Then – whenever you are ready – slowly, gently – open your eyes.

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