On the first reading, it seems that when Jacob wakes in the morning after the ladder dream, he makes a bargain with HaShem.  One can quote Rabbi Raymond Apple who wrote “His father and grandfather handed down to him a family tradition of faith in G-d, but Jacob has to struggle and strive for himself; he has to find G-d in his own way and by his own experience.”  Then he can assert that the G-d of Abraham and Issac has become his G-d.

Rabbi Riskin writes that perhaps all Jacob wants is what we say in the Shema – “Hear oh Israel, the Lord is our G-d, The Lord is One.”  Sometimes G-d is a G-d of nature, an inexplicable force of judgement and power, but sometimes we experience G-d as a G-d of Love.  The Shema underscores that both manifestations are attributes of the same G-d.

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