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“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)

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Please read the Introductory Notes to this commentary.

For a glossary of unfamiliar terms, CLICK HERE. For assistance in
pronouncing Hebrew terms, a pronunciation guide is located HERE.

The summary of the entire Torah is as simple as this:
Love what HaShem loves; hate what HaShem hates. All else is commentary.

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית • B'resheet
(“In Beginning” or “At First”)
The First Book of Moses,
Commonly Called


Parashah 7: Vayetze (continued)
(“He went out”) Gen 28:10 –32:2
(Small Roman numerals in the text indicate each 'aliyah.)

~ 29 ~

[Haran [MAP] ca. 1730 BCE]

C. Ya'akov in Haran (29:1-32:3)

1. Ya'akov Arrives in Haran (29:1-8)

(ii) 1Continuing on his journey, Ya'akovJacob came to the land of the people of the east. 2He looked, and saw a well in the field, and saw three flocks of sheep lying there near it, because the flocks were watered from that well. A large stone covered the mouth of the well. 3When all the flocks had gathered there, they would roll the stone from the well’s mouth, water the sheep, and put the stone back in place on the well’s mouth. 4Ya'akov said to them, “My brothers, where are you from?”

They said, “We are from Haran.”

5He asked them, “Do you know Lavan Benthe son (or grandson) of-Nachor?”

“We know him,” they answered.

6“Is he well?” Ya'akov asked.

“He is,” they answered, “and here comes his daughter Rachel with his sheep.”

7Hinneh,[GN] Ya'akov said, “it’s still midday, not time for the animals to be gathered.[7] Why don’t you water the sheep and let them go back out to graze?”

8“We can’t,” they answered, “until all the flocks are gathered and the stone has been rolled from the well’s mouth. Then we will water the sheep.”

2. Ya'akov Meets Rachel (29:9-14)

9While he was still speaking with them, Rachel arrived with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. 10As soon as Ya'akov saw his uncle Lavan’s daughter Rachel with his sheep, he went up and rolled the stone from the well’s opening and and watered his uncle Lavan’s sheep. 11Then Ya'akov kissed Rachel and wept aloud. 12He told Rachel that he was her father’s relative, and that he was RivkahRebekah’s son, and she ran and told her father.

13When Lavan heard the news about his sister’s son Ya'akov, he ran out to meet him and embraced him, and kissed him, then brought him to his home. Then Ya'akov told Lavan all that had happened. 14Lavan said to him, “Surely you are my own flesh and blood.” After Ya'akov had stayed with him for a month, 15Lavan said to him, “Just because you’re my relative, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.”

3. Ya'akov Works Seven Years for Rachel (29:16-20) [1730-1723 BCE]

16Now Lavan had two daughters; the elder was named Le'ah“weary” and the younger was named Rachel“ewe”. 17Le'ah’s eyes were delicate[17] and Rachel was shapely and beautiful.

 (iii) 18Since Ya'akov loved Rachel, he said, “I will work for you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”

19Lavan said, “Better that I give her to you than to another man. Stay here with me.”

20So Ya'akov worked seven years for Rachel, yet it seemed only a short time to him because of his love for her.

[Haran [MAP] March 1724 BCE]

4. Marriage to Leah and then to Rachel a Week Later (29:21-30)

21Ya'akov said to Lavan, “Give me my wife, for my time is completed and I want to sleep with her.”

22So Lavan invited all the men of that place to a feast. 23That evening he took his daughter Le'ah and brought her to Ya'akov, and he slept with her.[23] 24Lavan had given his servant girl Zilpah“a trickling” to his daughter Le'ah to be her maidservant. 25When morning came, there was Le'ah! “What have you done to me?“ said Ya'akov. “Didn’t I work for you for Rachel? Why have you deceived me?”[25]

26Lavan answered, “Around here we never marry off the younger before the firstborn. 27complete this week [of wedding celebration] with this one, and we’ll also give you the other one if you work for me for another seven years.”

28Ya'akov did just that. He completed her celebration week. Then Lavan gave him his daughter Rachel to marry, 29and he gave his servant girl Bilhah“troubled” to Rachel to be her maidservant. 30Ya'akov slept with Rachel and, indeed, he loved Rachel more than Le'ah. So he worked for Lavan for another seven years.

5. Twelve Children Born as He Works Seven More Years For Rachel (29:31-30:24)
[1723-1716 BCE]

31When יְהוָ֛ה [YeHoVah] [GN] saw that Le'ah was unloved, He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32Le'ah conceived and gave birth to son, and she named him Re’uven“see, a son”. [December 1723 BCE] For she said, “יְהוָ֛ה has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.” 33She conceived again, and gae birth to another son. [November 1722 BCE] She said, “Because יְהוָ֛ה has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” She named him Shim‘on“heard”.

 34Again she conceived and hade another son. [October 1721 BCE] This time she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” So she named him Levi“joined to”. 35She conceived yet again and gave birth to another son. [August 1720 BCE] She said, “This time I will praise יְהוָ֛ה.” So she named him Y’hudah“praise” or “praiser of God”. Then she stopped having children.

Chapter 30


Ancient Sheepfold
Shepherd guarding the sheepfold gate

 7. In the evening the shepherds would herd all the flocks into a single sheepfold (picture at right) and take turns lying across the opening to make themselves a “gate” so none of the sheep could wander off during the night and no predator could get in to harm the sheep. Then in the morning, the shepherds would call their own flocks out, and the sheep would each respond to their own shepherd’s voice. (see John 10:27-30) [RETURN]

17. The Hebrew word used to describe Le'ah’s eyes is רַכּ֑וֹת (rak·kō·wṯ), tender, soft, delicate, gentle, weak. The usual translation “weak” is unfortunate, as it suggests some sort of flaw. According to David Friedman’s commentary on B'resheet (p. 6), “delicate” is the better choice. Thus, this verse is not intended to contrast the appearance of the two sisters, but rather to point out the best features of each girl. [RETURN]

23. Le'ah would have been heavily veiled, and their tent would have been very dark. It is quite reasonable that Ya'akov would not have recognized her. [RETURN]

25. Ya'akov deceived his father by swapping one person for another. How fitting that HaShem allowed him to be deceived in the same manner. [RETURN]


Page originally posted on Shabbat, 14 August 2021

Page last updated on Sunday, 05 June 2022 10:30 AM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
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Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return

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