"[Jacob] dreamed, and behold a ladder was set on the ground and its top reached to heaven; and behold, angels of G‑d were ascending and descending upon it" — this week's Torah portion, Genesis 28:12.

Having incurred his brother Esau's vengeful wrath for outsmarting him vis-à-vis their father's blessings, Jacob was now fleeing to the home of his uncle Laban. Without a doubt, Rebecca didn't send her son Jacob into a lion's den without advising him regarding the nature of the threat which awaited him. She must have warned him that her brother Laban was a notorious liar, swindler and con artist. Realizing that challenging times were just around the corner, Jacob makes a pit stop to pray and spend the night at the propitious location of the Temple Mount.

No matter where you may be, the angel-filled ladder will shadow you; G‑d's protection will always be with youIn his sleep, Jacob sees a vision of angels climbing and descending a ladder whose top reached the heavens. Biblical commentators explain the message this vision imparted to Jacob: You are leaving the Holy Land and the warm confines of your holy parents' home, and are headed to a home replete with corruption and bereft of values. But there is no need to worry. There is a ladder which extends from heaven and reaches even the lowest points on earth. Loyal angels constantly scurry down the ladder to fulfill their divine mission, and then hurry back up to await new orders. No matter where you may be, the angel-filled ladder will shadow you; G‑d's protection will always be with you. There are no coincidences; whatever happens is orchestrated from Above and implemented by the angels descending the ladder.

Until the day of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the chassidic movement, it was understood that Divine providence directs and controls all of creation, hence there is a reason for everything that occurs; however, the reason could be very local. For example, G‑d can orchestrate an entire sequence of events solely for the benefit of one deserving individual or creature. The Baal Shem Tov took the idea of Divine Providence a step further. He explained that not only is everything by design on the local level, but every happening is an integral piece of a huge jigsaw puzzle. The "butterfly effect" is a perfect example for this point. Every occurrence, as trivial as it may seem, is part of G‑d's grand scheme which encompasses all of creation. The finite human mind, or the most powerful super computer for that matter, cannot begin to comprehend how the trillions upon trillions of events from the dawn of time until today can all be part of a singular vision and plan. I daresay that if we did understand, we'd be G‑d ourselves...

If we are to be G‑d-like we must train ourselves to look at the larger pictureG‑d makes the choices for the entire world, but He empowered each of us to makes the choices in our own lives; our own "worlds". He made known His method of managing the world, so that we can adopt this modus operandi in the management of our own lives.

When faced with making decisions, we often take the "local" route in order to arrive at a choice. The primary factors which determine our choices are typically short-term convenience and expediency. If we are to be G‑d-like we must train ourselves to look at the larger picture and think on a larger scale. Our major goals and aspirations must be the dominant factor when making any decision, big or small. Will this action bring me closer to my goals or not? Is this deed part of the dazzling picture which the puzzle pieces of my life are meant to complete?