Genesis – Select a Chapter
כח:י וַיֵּצֵא יַעֲקֹב מִבְּאֵר שָׁבַע וַיֵּלֶךְ חָרָנָה׃
11 He came upon a certain place and stopped there for the night, for the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of that place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place.
va-yif-GA ba-ma-KOHM va-ya-LAYN shahm ki va ha-SHE-mesh va-yi-KAKH me-ahv-NAY ha-ma-KOME va-ya-SAYM m’-ra-sho-TAV va-yish-KAHV ba-ma-KOHM ha-HU
יא וַיִּפְגַּע בַּמָּקוֹם וַיָּלֶן שָׁם כִּי־בָא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וַיִּקַּח מֵאַבְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם וַיָּשֶׂם מְרַאֲשֹׁתָיו וַיִּשְׁכַּב בַּמָּקוֹם הַהוּא׃
28:11 He came upon a certain place
Where is the place that Yaakov slept? American congregational Rabbi David Stavsky explained in one of his High Holy Day sermons that the Hebrew word used in this verse is ba-makom (בַּמקום), ‘upon the place,’ and not bi-makom (בְּמקום), ‘upon a place.’ The use of the definite article means this refers to the most important spot in the entire world. As Rabbi Stavsky said, Yaakov came upon “the place where Jacob’s father Isaac, and his grandfather Abraham, had built an altar. The place where Isaac was bound to the altar. The place which, for centuries, has tied us to Hashem. Hamakom, ‘the place,’ was Mount Moriah, eventually to become the heart and soul of Jerusalem, and it was as if a magnet had drawn young Jacob to wander the hot Mesopotamian desert that night, to that particular place. And dear friends, I dare say that whatever force pulled Jacob to that place that night, pulls you and me to that place. It is a deep mystical pull. It is holiness.”Comment
12 He had a dream; a stairway was set on the ground and its top reached to the sky, and angels of Hashem were going up and down on it.
יב וַיַּחֲלֹם וְהִנֵּה סֻלָּם מֻצָּב אַרְצָה וְרֹאשׁוֹ מַגִּיעַ הַשָּׁמָיְמָה וְהִנֵּה מַלְאֲכֵי אֱלֹהִים עֹלִים וְיֹרְדִים בּוֹ׃
14 Your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you and your descendants.
יד וְהָיָה זַרְעֲךָ כַּעֲפַר הָאָרֶץ וּפָרַצְתָּ יָמָּה וָקֵדְמָה וְצָפֹנָה וָנֶגְבָּה וְנִבְרֲכוּ בְךָ כָּל־מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה וּבְזַרְעֶךָ׃
15 Remember, I am with you: I will protect you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
טו וְהִנֵּה אָנֹכִי עִמָּךְ וּשְׁמַרְתִּיךָ בְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר־תֵּלֵךְ וַהֲשִׁבֹתִיךָ אֶל־הָאֲדָמָה הַזֹּאת כִּי לֹא אֶעֱזָבְךָ עַד אֲשֶׁר אִם־עָשִׂיתִי אֵת אֲשֶׁר־דִּבַּרְתִּי לָךְ׃
16 Yaakov awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely Hashem is present in this place, and I did not know it!”
טז וַיִּיקַץ יַעֲקֹב מִשְּׁנָתוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר אָכֵן יֵשׁ יְהֹוָה בַּמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה וְאָנֹכִי לֹא יָדָעְתִּי׃
17 Shaken, he said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the abode of Hashem, and that is the gateway to heaven.”
va-yee-RA va-yo-MAR mah no-RA ha-ma-KOM ha-ZEH AYN ZEH KEE im BAYT e-lo-HEEM v’-ZEH SHA-ar ha-sha-MA-yim
יז וַיִּירָא וַיֹּאמַר מַה־נּוֹרָא הַמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה אֵין זֶה כִּי אִם־בֵּית אֱלֹהִים וְזֶה שַׁעַר הַשָּׁמָיִם׃
28:17 This is none other than the abode of Hashem
According to Rashi, these words refer to the Temple Mount in Yerushalayim. He explains that the foot of the ladder in Yaakov’s dream was in Be’er Sheva, and its head was in Beit El. Therefore the middle of the ladder hung over Mount Moriah and the intensity of the encounter with Hashem occurred in that spot. When Yaakov awakens, he realizes that he has seen no ordinary place, but “the abode of Hashem,” the most intimate spot for prayers to ascend heavenward and the site where the Beit Hamikdash would later stand. The Beit Hamikdash is referred to here as ‘abode’ or ‘house’ because in the Temple, Hashem’s revealed presence – the shechina (שכינה) – dwells with His people, just as a husband dwells intimately with his wife in their home.5 comments
18 Early in the morning, Yaakov took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on the top of it.
יח וַיַּשְׁכֵּם יַעֲקֹב בַּבֹּקֶר וַיִּקַּח אֶת־הָאֶבֶן אֲשֶׁר־שָׂם מְרַאֲשֹׁתָיו וַיָּשֶׂם אֹתָהּ מַצֵּבָה וַיִּצֹק שֶׁמֶן עַל־רֹאשָׁהּ׃
28:19 He named that site Beit El
When Yaakov arrives in Beit El, the city near which his grandfather Avraham called to Hashem for the first time in the Land of Israel (Genesis 12:8), he recognizes its unique spiritual character. From that moment on, Beit El appears throughout the Bible as a special location for prayer. The Hebrew name Beit El means “The House of the Lord,” and signifies its powerful purpose. Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin explains that a home protects a person from the elements, extreme temperatures and rain. Similarly, we are meant to view “The House of the Lord” as a safe haven, protecting us from danger and therefore an ideal location for coming close to God.
20 Yaakov then made a vow, saying, “If Hashem remains with me, if He protects me on this journey that I am making, and gives me bread to eat and clothing to wear,
כ וַיִּדַּר יַעֲקֹב נֶדֶר לֵאמֹר אִם־יִהְיֶה אֱלֹהִים עִמָּדִי וּשְׁמָרַנִי בַּדֶּרֶךְ הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי הוֹלֵךְ וְנָתַן־לִי לֶחֶם לֶאֱכֹל וּבֶגֶד לִלְבֹּשׁ׃
21 and if I return safe to my father’s house—Hashem shall be my God.
כא וְשַׁבְתִּי בְשָׁלוֹם אֶל־בֵּית אָבִי וְהָיָה יְהֹוָה לִי לֵאלֹהִים׃
22 And this stone, which I have set up as a pillar, shall be Hashem‘s abode; and of all that You give me, I will set aside a tithe for You.”
כב וְהָאֶבֶן הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר־שַׂמְתִּי מַצֵּבָה יִהְיֶה בֵּית אֱלֹהִים וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר תִּתֶּן־לִי עַשֵּׂר אֲעַשְּׂרֶנּוּ לָךְ׃
29:1 Yaakov resumed his journey and came to the land of the Easterners.
va-yi-SA ya-a-KOV rag-LAV va-YAY-lekh AR-tzah v’-nay KE-dem
29:1 To the land of the Easterners
The distinction between Eretz Yisrael and other lands becomes clear to Yaakov as he enters the “land of the Easterners,” where he immediately encounters jealous shepherds and later the crooked Lavan. This new land stands in stark contrast to the Land of Israel where Yaakov’s grandfather Avraham had sought to bring righteousness and Godliness to the world.2 comments
2 There before his eyes was a well in the open. Three flocks of sheep were lying there beside it, for the flocks were watered from that well. The stone on the mouth of the well was large.
ב וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה בְאֵר בַּשָּׂדֶה וְהִנֵּה־שָׁם שְׁלֹשָׁה עֶדְרֵי־צֹאן רֹבְצִים עָלֶיהָ כִּי מִן־הַבְּאֵר הַהִוא יַשְׁקוּ הָעֲדָרִים וְהָאֶבֶן גְּדֹלָה עַל־פִּי הַבְּאֵר׃
3 When all the flocks were gathered there, the stone would be rolled from the mouth of the well and the sheep watered; then the stone would be put back in its place on the mouth of the well.
ג וְנֶאֶסְפוּ־שָׁמָּה כָל־הָעֲדָרִים וְגָלֲלוּ אֶת־הָאֶבֶן מֵעַל פִּי הַבְּאֵר וְהִשְׁקוּ אֶת־הַצֹּאן וְהֵשִׁיבוּ אֶת־הָאֶבֶן עַל־פִּי הַבְּאֵר לִמְקֹמָהּ׃
4 Yaakov said to them, “My friends, where are you from?” And they said, “We are from Haran.”
ד וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם יַעֲקֹב אַחַי מֵאַיִן אַתֶּם וַיֹּאמְרוּ מֵחָרָן אֲנָחְנוּ׃
5 He said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?” And they said, “Yes, we do.”
ה וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם הַיְדַעְתֶּם אֶת־לָבָן בֶּן־נָחוֹר וַיֹּאמְרוּ יָדָעְנוּ׃
6 He continued, “Is he well?” They answered, “Yes, he is; and there is his daughter Rachel, coming with the flock.”
ו וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם הֲשָׁלוֹם לוֹ וַיֹּאמְרוּ שָׁלוֹם וְהִנֵּה רָחֵל בִּתּוֹ בָּאָה עִם־הַצֹּאן׃
7 He said, “It is still broad daylight, too early to round up the animals; water the flock and take them to pasture.”
ז וַיֹּאמֶר הֵן עוֹד הַיּוֹם גָּדוֹל לֹא־עֵת הֵאָסֵף הַמִּקְנֶה הַשְׁקוּ הַצֹּאן וּלְכוּ רְעוּ׃
8 But they said, “We cannot, until all the flocks are rounded up; then the stone is rolled off the mouth of the well and we water the sheep.”
ח וַיֹּאמְרוּ לֹא נוּכַל עַד אֲשֶׁר יֵאָסְפוּ כָּל־הָעֲדָרִים וְגָלֲלוּ אֶת־הָאֶבֶן מֵעַל פִּי הַבְּאֵר וְהִשְׁקִינוּ הַצֹּאן׃
9 While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s flock; for she was a shepherdess.
ט עוֹדֶנּוּ מְדַבֵּר עִמָּם וְרָחֵל בָּאָה עִם־הַצֹּאן אֲשֶׁר לְאָבִיהָ כִּי רֹעָה הִוא׃
10 And when Yaakov saw Rachel, the daughter of his uncle Laban, and the flock of his uncle Laban, Yaakov went up and rolled the stone off the mouth of the well, and watered the flock of his uncle Laban.
14 and Laban said to him, “You are truly my bone and flesh.” When he had stayed with him a month’s time,
יד וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ לָבָן אַךְ עַצְמִי וּבְשָׂרִי אָתָּה וַיֵּשֶׁב עִמּוֹ חֹדֶשׁ יָמִים׃
19 Laban said, “Better that I give her to you than that I should give her to an outsider. Stay with me.”
22 And Laban gathered all the people of the place and made a feast.
כב וַיֶּאֱסֹף לָבָן אֶת־כָּל־אַנְשֵׁי הַמָּקוֹם וַיַּעַשׂ מִשְׁתֶּה׃
23 When evening came, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to him; and he cohabited with her.
כג וַיְהִי בָעֶרֶב וַיִּקַּח אֶת־לֵאָה בִתּוֹ וַיָּבֵא אֹתָהּ אֵלָיו וַיָּבֹא אֵלֶיהָ׃
26 Laban said, “It is not the practice in our place to marry off the younger before the older.
כו וַיֹּאמֶר לָבָן לֹא־יֵעָשֶׂה כֵן בִּמְקוֹמֵנוּ לָתֵת הַצְּעִירָה לִפְנֵי הַבְּכִירָה׃
27 Wait until the bridal week of this one is over and we will give you that one too, provided you serve me another seven years.”
כז מַלֵּא שְׁבֻעַ זֹאת וְנִתְּנָה לְךָ גַּם־אֶת־זֹאת בַּעֲבֹדָה אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲבֹד עִמָּדִי עוֹד שֶׁבַע־שָׁנִים אֲחֵרוֹת׃
33 She conceived again and bore a son, and declared, “This is because Hashem heard that I was unloved and has given me this one also”; so she named him Shimon.
לג וַתַּהַר עוֹד וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן וַתֹּאמֶר כִּי־שָׁמַע יְהֹוָה כִּי־שְׂנוּאָה אָנֹכִי וַיִּתֶּן־לִי גַּם־אֶת־זֶה וַתִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ שִׁמְעוֹן׃
34 Again she conceived and bore a son and declared, “This time my husband will become attached to me, for I have borne him three sons.” Therefore he was named Levi.
לד וַתַּהַר עוֹד וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן וַתֹּאמֶר עַתָּה הַפַּעַם יִלָּוֶה אִישִׁי אֵלַי כִּי־יָלַדְתִּי לוֹ שְׁלֹשָׁה בָנִים עַל־כֵּן קָרָא־שְׁמוֹ לֵוִי׃
35 She conceived again and bore a son, and declared, “This time I will praise Hashem.” Therefore she named him Yehuda. Then she stopped bearing.
לה וַתַּהַר עוֹד וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן וַתֹּאמֶר הַפַּעַם אוֹדֶה אֶת־יְהֹוָה עַל־כֵּן קָרְאָה שְׁמוֹ יְהוּדָה וַתַּעֲמֹד מִלֶּדֶת׃
3 She said, “Here is my maid Bilha. Consort with her, that she may bear on my knees and that through her I too may have children.”
ג וַתֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה אֲמָתִי בִלְהָה בֹּא אֵלֶיהָ וְתֵלֵד עַל־בִּרְכַּי וְאִבָּנֶה גַם־אָנֹכִי מִמֶּנָּה׃
ד וַתִּתֶּן־לוֹ אֶת־בִּלְהָה שִׁפְחָתָהּ לְאִשָּׁה וַיָּבֹא אֵלֶיהָ יַעֲקֹב׃
15 But she said to her, “Was it not enough for you to take away my husband, that you would also take my son’s mandrakes?” Rachel replied, “I promise, he shall lie with you tonight, in return for your son’s mandrakes.”
טו וַתֹּאמֶר לָהּ הַמְעַט קַחְתֵּךְ אֶת־אִישִׁי וְלָקַחַת גַּם אֶת־דּוּדָאֵי בְּנִי וַתֹּאמֶר רָחֵל לָכֵן יִשְׁכַּב עִמָּךְ הַלַּיְלָה תַּחַת דּוּדָאֵי בְנֵךְ׃
17 Hashem heeded Leah, and she conceived and bore him a fifth son.
יח וַתֹּאמֶר לֵאָה נָתַן אֱלֹהִים שְׂכָרִי אֲשֶׁר־נָתַתִּי שִׁפְחָתִי לְאִישִׁי וַתִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ יִשָּׂשכָר׃
20 Leah said, “Hashem has given me a choice gift; this time my husband will exalt me, for I have borne him six sons.” So she named him Zevulun.
21 Last, she bore him a daughter, and named her Dina.
כא וְאַחַר יָלְדָה בַּת וַתִּקְרָא אֶת־שְׁמָהּ דִּינָה׃
22 Now Hashem remembered Rachel; Hashem heeded her and opened her womb.
23 She conceived and bore a son, and said, “Hashem has taken away my disgrace.”
כג וַתַּהַר וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן וַתֹּאמֶר אָסַף אֱלֹהִים אֶת־חֶרְפָּתִי׃
24 So she named him Yosef, which is to say, “May Hashem add another son for me.”
כד וַתִּקְרָא אֶת־שְׁמוֹ יוֹסֵף לֵאמֹר יֹסֵף יְהֹוָה לִי בֵּן אַחֵר׃
30:25 To go back to my own homeland
Once Rachel has finally been blessed with a son, Yosef, Yaakov concludes that his time in exile has ended and he begins to prepare to return to the Land of Israel. Later in the Bible, Rashi explains that Yosef is referred to as a “flame” who will extinguish Esau who “shall be straw” (Obadiah 1:18). Once Esau’s defeater is born, Yaakov is free to return to the Land of Israel, from which he fled out of fear of Esau. The birth of Yosef reinforces Yaakov’s faith in Hashem and urges him to return home. Yaakov understands that his “own homeland” is only in Eretz Yisrael.1 comment
26 Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served you, that I may go; for well you know what services I have rendered you.”
כו תְּנָה אֶת־נָשַׁי וְאֶת־יְלָדַי אֲשֶׁר עָבַדְתִּי אֹתְךָ בָּהֵן וְאֵלֵכָה כִּי אַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ אֶת־עֲבֹדָתִי אֲשֶׁר עֲבַדְתִּיךָ׃
27 But Laban said to him, “If you will indulge me, I have learned by divination that Hashem has blessed me on your account.”
כז וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו לָבָן אִם־נָא מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ נִחַשְׁתִּי וַיְבָרֲכֵנִי יְהֹוָה בִּגְלָלֶךָ׃
28 And he continued, “Name the wages due from me, and I will pay you.”
כח וַיֹּאמַר נָקְבָה שְׂכָרְךָ עָלַי וְאֶתֵּנָה׃
29 But he said, “You know well how I have served you and how your livestock has fared with me.
כט וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ אֵת אֲשֶׁר עֲבַדְתִּיךָ וְאֵת אֲשֶׁר־הָיָה מִקְנְךָ אִתִּי׃
30 For the little you had before I came has grown to much, since Hashem has blessed you wherever I turned. And now, when shall I make provision for my own household?”
ל כִּי מְעַט אֲשֶׁר־הָיָה לְךָ לְפָנַי וַיִּפְרֹץ לָרֹב וַיְבָרֶךְ יְהֹוָה אֹתְךָ לְרַגְלִי וְעַתָּה מָתַי אֶעֱשֶׂה גַם־אָנֹכִי לְבֵיתִי׃
31 He said, “What shall I pay you?” And Yaakov said, “Pay me nothing! If you will do this thing for me, I will again pasture and keep your flocks:
לא וַיֹּאמֶר מָה אֶתֶּן־לָךְ וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב לֹא־תִתֶּן־לִי מְאוּמָה אִם־תַּעֲשֶׂה־לִּי הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה אָשׁוּבָה אֶרְעֶה צֹאנְךָ אֶשְׁמֹר׃
32 let me pass through your whole flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted animal—every dark-colored sheep and every spotted and speckled goat. Such shall be my wages.
לב אֶעֱבֹר בְּכָל־צֹאנְךָ הַיּוֹם הָסֵר מִשָּׁם כָּל־שֶׂה נָקֹד וְטָלוּא וְכָל־שֶׂה־חוּם בַּכְּשָׂבִים וְטָלוּא וְנָקֹד בָּעִזִּים וְהָיָה שְׂכָרִי׃
33 In the future when you go over my wages, let my honesty toward you testify for me: if there are among my goats any that are not speckled or spotted or any sheep that are not dark-colored, they got there by theft.”
לג וְעָנְתָה־בִּי צִדְקָתִי בְּיוֹם מָחָר כִּי־תָבוֹא עַל־שְׂכָרִי לְפָנֶיךָ כֹּל אֲשֶׁר־אֵינֶנּוּ נָקֹד וְטָלוּא בָּעִזִּים וְחוּם בַּכְּשָׂבִים גָּנוּב הוּא אִתִּי׃
35 But that same day he removed the streaked and spotted he-goats and all the speckled and spotted she-goats—every one that had white on it—and all the dark-colored sheep, and left them in the charge of his sons.
לה וַיָּסַר בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא אֶת־הַתְּיָשִׁים הָעֲקֻדִּים וְהַטְּלֻאִים וְאֵת כָּל־הָעִזִּים הַנְּקֻדּוֹת וְהַטְּלֻאֹת כֹּל אֲשֶׁר־לָבָן בּוֹ וְכָל־חוּם בַּכְּשָׂבִים וַיִּתֵּן בְּיַד־בָּנָיו׃
37 Yaakov then got fresh shoots of poplar, and of almond and plane, and peeled white stripes in them, laying bare the white of the shoots.
38 The rods that he had peeled he set up in front of the goats in the troughs, the water receptacles, that the goats came to drink from. Their mating occurred when they came to drink,
לח וַיַּצֵּג אֶת־הַמַּקְלוֹת אֲשֶׁר פִּצֵּל בָּרֳהָטִים בְּשִׁקֲתוֹת הַמָּיִם אֲשֶׁר תָּבֹאןָ הַצֹּאן לִשְׁתּוֹת לְנֹכַח הַצֹּאן וַיֵּחַמְנָה בְּבֹאָן לִשְׁתּוֹת׃
39 and since the goats mated by the rods, the goats brought forth streaked, speckled, and spotted young.
לט וַיֶּחֱמוּ הַצֹּאן אֶל־הַמַּקְלוֹת וַתֵּלַדְןָ הַצֹּאן עֲקֻדִּים נְקֻדִּים וּטְלֻאִים׃
40 But Yaakov dealt separately with the sheep; he made these animals face the streaked or wholly dark-colored animals in Laban’s flock. And so he produced special flocks for himself, which he did not put with Laban’s flocks.
41 Moreover, when the sturdier animals were mating, Yaakov would place the rods in the troughs, in full view of the animals, so that they mated by the rods;
מא וְהָיָה בְּכָל־יַחֵם הַצֹּאן הַמְקֻשָּׁרוֹת וְשָׂם יַעֲקֹב אֶת־הַמַּקְלוֹת לְעֵינֵי הַצֹּאן בָּרֳהָטִים לְיַחְמֵנָּה בַּמַּקְלוֹת׃
42 but with the feebler animals he would not place them there. Thus the feeble ones went to Laban and the sturdy to