A man once came to the Holy Rav Yitzchak of Vorker and cried, “Rebbe, my child is so sick – he’s dying. Please Rebbe pray for my son to be healed.” The Vorker Rebbe sat with his eyes closed for what seemed like hours and when he finally opened his eyes, he did not have good news to share. “I’m so sorry to tell you, but the gates of heaven are closed tight right now. There is nothing I can do to help the situation.” The father began sobbing and buried his head in his hands. He may as well go back home now. He got into his wagon and after traveling about thirty minutes he heard another wagon coming up right behind him. The Vorker Rebbe was chasing him down. After they both stopped, they sat together on the grass by the edge of the road. “After you left,” Rav Yitzchak began. “I could not stop thinking about you and your son. My heart aches for you. And I know I can’t help your son, but I can cry with you.” And the Vorker put his arm around the father, and leaning on his shoulder began to sob from the deepest depths of his heart. The two men sat crying together for a long time. Suddenly the Vorker lifted his head, wiped away his tears and began to laugh out loud. The father was confused, but his confusion was only perpetuated when the Vorker grabbed a bottle of whiskey and poured L’chaims for the two of them. The Vorker lifted his glass, “L’chaim!” and the father barely managed to echo back “L’chaim” through his confusion. The Vorker smiled, “I know you must think I’m crazy; crying one minute, celebrating in the next. But it happened so quickly I just had to celebrate. A real miracle – because of our tears the gates to heaven were broken open and all your prayers were answered. Your son will live! Lchaim!”
Rashi tells us Yaakov was famously known not to sleep at all. He would never go to sleep and at night would say Tehillim, but this one night he decided to go to sleep and Hashem gave him an impromptu prophesy. Yaakov wasn’t expecting a prophesy of any sort, he said, “G-d is truly in this place and I did not know it” (28:16). In his dream Yaakov sees a ladder which was set on the ground and its rungs reached all the way up to Heaven. Showing Yaakov and teaching us that the physical world is connected to the upper worlds constantly, and we must work diligently to unite heaven and earth, to create our ladder which will help elevate us in our Avodas Hashem. And the angels going up and down on the ladder teach us the great lesson that all of creation depends on us. That even something as holy as the angels can come down to earth because of our actions. If a person lives his life in the physical, squandering his blessings and strength on falsehood then all of heaven descends with him to darkness. But if a person utilizes this physical world for holiness, he elevates all of the physical world to Heaven, uniting Earth and sky. Yet, even from the depths we still have the chance to complete our mission; by connecting ourselves to the spiritual essence of this physical world we can be raised up from the depths instantly, for even in the depths Hashem is with us, as it says, “If I climb to the Heavens, You are there. If I fall to the depths, behold, You are there too.”(Tehillim 139:8) So even if we fall hard to rock bottom, caught in the net of vanity, all of Heaven descends with us, making it all the more easy for us to begin our climb up the rungs, one step at a time.