Parshat Vayetze

The Shorashim Torah Study and Overview Guide.

Parshat Vayeitzei (Genesis 28:10–32:3) —  Jacob escapes from his home knowing that Esav wants to kill him and not knowing where his future lies. In the midst of this place of uncertainty he arrives at a ” place.” The word place in Hebrew means Makom which is also one of the names of G-d. So the bible does not say he arrives at this place but rather uses the word Vayifga which means encounter.  It it also means prayer.

Where else in Tanach is that word used and in what context?

In his fatigue he simply falls asleep on a rock yet when he goes to sleep he gathers several rocks and when he wakes up it is on one rock.

What is the message?

During his sleep we read that “And he dreamed, and behold! a ladder set up on the ground and its top reached to heaven; and behold, angels of God were ascending and descending upon it”(Genesis 28:12).

The words “set up on the ground and its top reached to heaven” is very purposeful.

What is its meaning?

We also read that “13. And behold, HaShem ( the L-rd) was standing over him, and He said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac; the land upon which you are lying to you I will give it and to your seed.”

Why was HaShem standing on top of the ladder “over him”?

G-d promises him great promises related to this land that he was now leaving and to  G-d’s protection, yet we read that Jacob then says: “If G-d will be with me, and He will guard me on this way, upon which I am going, and He will give me bread to eat and a garment to wear;    21. And if I return in peace to my father’s house, and the Lord will be my God;   22. Then this stone, which I have placed as a monument, shall be a house of God, and everything that You give me, I will surely tithe to You.”

Was G-d’s promise not enough?

What impactful insight was Jacob providing for all of mortal man’s walk with G-d?

In Haran, Jacob meets Rachel in much the same way that Isaac his father was to find his wife

What is the meaning of this wives and wells narrative?

Lavan, the master of deception agrees to let Jacob marry Rachel in lieu of seven years of work but secretly on the wedding night, Laban gives him his elder daughter, Leah, instead . then Jacob agrees to work another seven years.

What is being taught to jacob?

Leah gives birth to six sons—Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun—and a daughter, Dinah, while Rachel remains barren.

What does each name teach us about faith?

why do Sarah and Rebecca and Rachel need to be barren?

Why in that case is that not true of Leah?

Rachel gives Jacob her handmaid, Bilhah, as a wife to bear children in her stead, and two more sons, Dan and Naphtali, are born. Leah does the same through Zilpah, who gives birth to Gad and Asher.  Finally, Rachel’s prayers are answered and she gives birth to Joseph.

Jacob after fourteen years wants to return home.   Laban’s repeated attempts to swindle him fail after Jacob dreams a dream 10. And it came to pass at the time the animals came into heat, that I lifted my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the he goats that mounted the animals were ringed, speckled, and striped.( ibid 31:10)

What is the difference beween this dream and the one he had in the land of his father?

After six more years Jacob sneaks out of Haran  Laban pursues Jacob, but is warned by G‑d in a dream not to harm him. Jacob continues home, where he is met by angels.

Which angels are these?

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Haftara Parshat Vayetze

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