The striking irony of what many call the “i generation” (iTunes, iPhone, Wii) is how little we truly believe in ourselves. Despite the over-indulgence of personal enjoyments at our fingertips, studies show that self-esteem is unhealthily dependent on others. We value ourselves inasmuch as others value us. Our importance depends more on what’s outside, and less on what’s inside.
In the aftermath of Yaakov’s dream, he makes a startling revelation: “Behold, there is G-dliness in this place, and I did not know (anochi lo yadati)” (Bereishis 28:16). In a literal sense, Yaakov is simply noticing the holiness of where he was. Read differently, however, one could translate the verse as follows: “Behold there is G-dliness in this place, yet I did not know myself (‘Anochi’- lo yadati)”. It is one thing to be in a holy place, but for that holiness to come through you- you must be holy as well. The place -and the dream- reminded Yaakov of his own holiness.
Too many times we consider our lot in life good only because of where we are or who tells us so. If we truly knew ourselves- we would realize that our significance exists irrespective of our environment. The irony then becomes- that such holiness exists wherever we go. Shabbat Shalom.