Bereisheet (Genesis): Vayeitzei > Ch 31

Jacob has another miraculous dream. G-d tells Jacob to return to his birthplace.

  • Laban kept changing Jacob’s wages saying ‘from this day Jacob gets only ringed animals’, then ‘from this day Jacob gets only speckled animals’, etc…
  • In a dream Jacob saw that as the animals came into heat, the he goats that mounted the animals were ringed, speckled, and striped. And an angel of G-d said to him in a dream, 'Jacob!' And Jacob said, 'Here I am.' And he said, 'Now lift your eyes and see [that] all the he goats mounting the animals are ringed, speckled, and striped, for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. I am the God of Beth el, where you anointed a monument, where you pronounced to Me a vow. Now, arise, go forth from this land and return to the land of your birth.'
  • While Laban was in the fields, Jacob took his family & possessions and they fled to Isaac his father, to the land of Canaan. Without telling anyone, Rachel stole her father's teraphim (idols)

Laban pursues Jacob and overtakes him at Mount Gilead after a seven day pursuit

  • G-d came to Laban the Aramean in a dream of the night, and He said to him, "Beware lest you speak with Jacob either good or evil." Laban was angry that Jacob fled but could not harm him, but he asked why Jacob stole his gods. Jacob replied that he fled out of fear. He also allowed Laban to search everywhere for the idols, but Rachel hid them in a saddle upon which she was sitting and Laban did not find them.
  • Jacob was angry that Laban pursued him. Jacob served Laban fourteen years for two daughters and six years for the animals. He said “Had not the G-d of my father, the G-d of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, been for me, you would now have sent me away empty handed”
  • Jacob & Laban set a covenant. They gathered a pile of stones which Laban called Yegar Sahadutha, and Jacob called Gal ed (witness). They also called it Mizpah because each one said to the other, “May the Lord look between me and you if you transgress the covenant. Jacob promised to treat his wives well and Laban promised never to cross beyond the pile of stones.

Rashi Commentary

  • and [meanwhile] Rachel stole her father’s teraphim She intended to separate her father from idolatry. — [from Gen. Rabbah 74: 5]
  • Yegar Sahadutha The Aramaic translation of Gal-ed.
  • And Mizpah because he said, etc. And Mizpah, which is on Mount Gilead, as it is written (Jud. 11:29): “and he passed over Mizpeh of Gilead.” Now, why was it named Mizpah? Because each one said to the other,“May the Lord look (יִצֶף) between me and you if you transgress the covenant.