VaYetse - “And he went out” Bereshit 28:10-32:2

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10. And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran:
11. And he lighted upon a certain place, and remained there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep:
12. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of Elohim ascending and descending on it:
13. And, behold, YHWH stood above it, and said, I am YHWH Elohai of Abraham your father, and the Elohai of Isaac; the land on which you lie, to you will I give it, and to your seed:
14. And your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south; and in you and in your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed:

While in the land which YHWH was giving to Ya’acov, he stopped to sleep because the sun had set. There he setup stones to use as a pillow. This is where he beheld the vision commonly known as “Ya’acov’s Ladder”. In some circles it is also thought that this is equivelant to the "Tree of Life".  In other words, Ya'acov witnessed a revealing into our reality of the expressed manifest characteristics of Elohim.  The Midrash indicates that the location of this even was on the border of Yisrael, as Ya’acov was preparing to leave it.

Here it is interesting that YHWH tell’s him that his seed will be as the dust of the earth. So they have become… Yisrael has become very numerous, but because of continued sin they have become trodden on and kicked about as the dust of the earth. Instead we should have become as the stars of the heaven: Again numerous, but elevated because of our inclination and practice of Torah. The reason both idioms are used is to demonstrate both prospects for Yisrael. Today we have the same choices to make: Will we, as Yisrael, be a pious people, living a holy life, being elevated as the stars of heaven? Or will we, knowingly cast Torah aside and become (or continue to be) kicked around as the dust of the earth? The choice is ours to make.

This is also the beginning of the tithing concept. The establishment of the location of Elohim’s house is made. Bereshit 28:22 tells us plainly that it is Ya’acov setup a standing stone and declared it to be Elohim’s house and vowed to give a tenth of all that Elohim gives him.

From that time forward, Ya’acov gave a tenth of all that Elohim provided him: his children (Levi), the livestock, gold, and silver. This was a voluntary vow to Elohim. As we had read in earlier portions, we know that Elohim takes a vow as a very serious matter. As Elohim blessed him, he is obligated to provide as he had promised. Ya’acov did as he promised and gave to Elohim as he had said.

Such is a test of faith. How many of us would be willing to take such a vow? Ya’acov was not obligated before this time. He could of taken the blessings and ran with them. Instead he chose to show esteem to Elohim, appreciation for all that has been provided to him.

Ya’acov moved in to Lavan’s house and upon seeing Rak’hel he set his heart towards her. As can be seen during Ya’acov’s stay with Lavan, Lavan was a deceptive person, always seeking to benefit himself, the fact that Ya’acov was a member of his own family only had a little meaning to him.

Lavan began his efforts early on. When he asked Ya’acov what his wages were, it was to protect himself. If Ya’acov continued to work for Lavan for nothing, Ya’acov could not be held responsible for anything that would happen to those things which he was watching over. If, however, he was paid anything, he would be wholly responsible. This explains why in Bereshit 31:39 Ya’acov stated that he bore the loss of any of the livestock that were torn by beasts. Because he had received wages for his labor, he was responsible for the loss of that which he was instructed to watch over.

In fact the text states that Lavan changed Ya’acov’s wages ten times in twenty years. We know that he always changed them so that the trend would favor him. But Elohim was with Ya’acov, so that the trend always shifted towards Ya’acov’s favor. By the time it was all over, Ya’acov had all Lavan’s livestock.

Ya’acov worked for Lavan seven years for Le’ah, although he was deceived and thought he was working for Rak’hel. Since he had already taken possession of her, his purchase was completed, or the his wages had been paid. So, he waited a week and then took Rak’hel. After taking her, he worked for Lavan another seven years. After this he worked another six years for Lavan’s sheep.

Most of us would have left immediately upon the first or second deception, but Ya’acov waited out twenty years and ten changes in his wages. Ya’acov demonstrated great restraint and patience in this.

Upon leaving, Rak’hel took the idols from her father’s house. Lavan didn’t really consider the livestock, Le’ah, Rak’hel, their handmaids, and their children to be Ya’acov’s All of Ya’acov’s son’s, except for Benyamin, were born during his time with Lavan. He really believed that they were all his. If Ya’acov had come to him directly and told him he was going to leave, Lavan would have tried to deceive him again or sent him away without anything, as he had arrived.

Lavan used the missing idols as an excuse to hunt down Ya’acov, to get back his daughters, and to take back his livestock. Ya’acov knew nothing of Rak’hels deception and theft, and so denied having them. Elohim protected Ya’acov and Lavan did not find the idols.

A covenant was reached between Lavan and Ya’acov that they would not pass over beyond that marker to cause veil to one or the other. At this point Lavan recognized that the Elohim of Arvraham and Yitzach was with him. He established this covenant because he knew that Yahweh was going to bless Ya’acov and he wanted to protect himself, lest Ya’acov decide years from now to come back after him.

As a side note, it is also expressing in the Midrashim in a later parsha that the pile of stones that they created as a sign of this covenenant was the same stone wall that Balam was crushed into as he went to curse Israel for Balak.  This is the narrow pass where the Angel of Elohim was going to slay him if he had continued with that intent.  Balam was a descendant of Lavan and was going to violate the covenant made between Ya'acov and Lavan, a covenant which he would have known about.  Elohim honored the covenant, and stopped Balak from bringing harm to Israel and instead blessed them.

In subjecting himself, Ya’acov became a blessed man. He became very wealthy. In this we can learn that in our servitude of thers we are blessed. We are told that in all we do for those we server, we should do it as though we were doing it for Yahweh. In doing so, we will become blessed. In doing this, we are also to continue in our Torah observance.

Lavan returned home and Ya’acov continued on his way to where Esau was.