As Yaakov flees from his home in Be’er Sheva to escape the wrath and fury of his brother Esav, he stopped to spend the night. In his dream he sees a ladder extending heavenward and angels ascending and descending on it. As well, he heard the reassuring voice of Hashem reiterating to him the promises of protection from evil, an eternal homeland and the continuity of his progeny.
Rabbi Yaakov ben Asher, in his commentary on the Torah, Ba’al Haturim, notes that the Gematria (numerical value) of the word סולם/sulam (ladder), is equal to the value of the word קול/kol (voice) 136
The inherent message, explains the Ba’al Haturim, is that when we raise our voices in proper prayer we create a ladder that connects us to the spirituality of the heavens. This ladder allows the angels to ascend and bring our requests before Hashem. Conversely, improper Tefillah hinders that access that we have to Hashem.
Interestingly, the two Hebrew words that represent wealth ( ממון/mamon) and poverty (עוי/oni) also have a Gematria of 136. This apparent “coincidence” serves to inform us that the path towards true enrichment in our lives, in both the temporal as well as spiritual spheres is through prayer.
As parents, we have a responsibility to set the proper example for our children in proper decorum and participation in meaningful prayer.
Rabbi Don Pacht