Genesis 28
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1  So Yitzchak sent for Yaakov and blessed him. He instructed him, saying, “You shall not take a wife from among the Canaanite women.

א  וַיִּקְרָא יִצְחָק אֶל־יַעֲקֹב וַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתוֹ וַיְצַוֵּהוּ וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ לֹא־תִקַּח אִשָּׁה מִבְּנוֹת כְּנָעַן׃

2  Up, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel, your mother’s father, and take a wife there from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother,

ב  קוּם לֵךְ פַּדֶּנָה אֲרָם בֵּיתָה בְתוּאֵל אֲבִי אִמֶּךָ וְקַח־לְךָ מִשָּׁם אִשָּׁה מִבְּנוֹת לָבָן אֲחִי אִמֶּךָ׃

3  May El Shaddai bless you, make you fertile and numerous, so that you become an assembly of peoples.

ג  וְאֵל שַׁדַּי יְבָרֵךְ אֹתְךָ וְיַפְרְךָ וְיַרְבֶּךָ וְהָיִיתָ לִקְהַל עַמִּים׃

4  May He grant the blessing of Avraham to you and your offspring, that you may possess the land where you are sojourning, which Hashem assigned to Avraham.”

v’-yi-ten l’-KHA et bir-KAT av-ra-HAM l’-KHA ul-zar-a-KHA i-TAKH l’-rish-t’-KHA et E-retz m’-gu-RE-kha a-sher na-TAN e-lo-HEEM l’-av-ra-HAM

ד  וְיִתֶּן־לְךָ אֶת־בִּרְכַּת אַבְרָהָם לְךָ וּלְזַרְעֲךָ אִתָּךְ לְרִשְׁתְּךָ אֶת־אֶרֶץ מְגֻרֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר־נָתַן אֱלֹהִים לְאַבְרָהָם׃

5  Then Yitzchak sent Yaakov off, and he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban the son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rivka, mother of Yaakov and Esau.

ה  וַיִּשְׁלַח יִצְחָק אֶת־יַעֲקֹב וַיֵּלֶךְ פַּדֶּנָה אֲרָם אֶל־לָבָן בֶּן־בְּתוּאֵל הָאֲרַמִּי אֲחִי רִבְקָה אֵם יַעֲקֹב וְעֵשָׂו׃

6  When Esau saw that Yitzchak had blessed Yaakov and sent him off to Paddan-aram to take a wife from there, charging him, as he blessed him, “You shall not take a wife from among the Canaanite women,”

ו  וַיַּרְא עֵשָׂו כִּי־בֵרַךְ יִצְחָק אֶת־יַעֲקֹב וְשִׁלַּח אֹתוֹ פַּדֶּנָה אֲרָם לָקַחַת־לוֹ מִשָּׁם אִשָּׁה בְּבָרֲכוֹ אֹתוֹ וַיְצַו עָלָיו לֵאמֹר לֹא־תִקַּח אִשָּׁה מִבְּנוֹת כְּנָעַן׃

7  and that Yaakov had obeyed his father and mother and gone to Paddan-aram,

ז  וַיִּשְׁמַע יַעֲקֹב אֶל־אָבִיו וְאֶל־אִמּוֹ וַיֵּלֶךְ פַּדֶּנָה אֲרָם׃

8  Esau realized that the Canaanite women displeased his father Yitzchak.

ח  וַיַּרְא עֵשָׂו כִּי רָעוֹת בְּנוֹת כְּנָעַן בְּעֵינֵי יִצְחָק אָבִיו׃

9  So Esau went to Ishmael and took to wife, in addition to the wives he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael son of Avraham, sister of Nebaioth.

ט  וַיֵּלֶךְ עֵשָׂו אֶל־יִשְׁמָעֵאל וַיִּקַּח אֶת־מָחֲלַת בַּת־יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן־אַבְרָהָם אֲחוֹת נְבָיוֹת עַל־נָשָׁיו לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה׃

10  Yaakov left Be’er Sheva, and set out for Haran.

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.

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׃

13  And Hashem was standing beside him and He said, “I am Hashem, the God of your father Avraham and the God of Yitzchak: the ground on which you are lying I will assign to you and to your offspring.

יג  וְהִנֵּה יְהוָה נִצָּב עָלָיו וַיֹּאמַר אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם אָבִיךָ וֵאלֹהֵי יִצְחָק הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה שֹׁכֵב עָלֶיהָ לְךָ אֶתְּנֶנָּה וּלְזַרְעֶךָ׃

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 יְהוָה 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׃

19  He named that site Beit El; but previously the name of the city had been Luz.

va-yik-RA et shaym ha-ma-KOM ha-HU bayt EL v’-u-LAM LUZ shaym ha-EER la-ri-sho-NAH

יט  וַיִּקְרָא אֶת־שֵׁם־הַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא בֵּית־אֵל וְאוּלָם לוּז שֵׁם־הָעִיר לָרִאשֹׁנָה׃

 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 יְהוָה 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׃

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Comments ( 4 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • "Located about ten miles north of Jerusalem near the border of Israel and Judah, Bethel was known as Luz in pre-Israelite times (Gen. 28:19). The name “Bethel” (beit el) means the "house (or place) of God." Abraham, according to Genesis 7:8, built an altar east of Bethel shortly after arriving in Canaan from Haran."
    Bethel – New World Encyclopedia
    Some sages seem to think the place where Jacob slept that night was literally the Temple Mount. According Chap. 28, and region maps, this is incorrect. His nighttime encounter was really about 10 miles north of Jerusalem in the town of Luz, of which he re-named "Beit El. This is also a place where the limestone is so soft one could use it as a pillow.

  • The "Aleph Tav" symbol again appears in 28:9, giving evidence to giving either or both divine approval to Esau's choice or to approval of the same concerning every name mentioned in the verse. The motive for his choice aside, it appears he made a righteous choice.

  • The first time the symbols "Aleph Tav" appear in Torah is Gen. 1: 1, both in connection to Elohim and "hashamyim" and again with "haeretz". Whether or not one considers the Aleph Tav to refer to the Messiah, there is no question the symbol is divine in nature. In verse four of this chapter, the "Aleph Tav" appears twice, once in front of "the blessing of Avraham", and again in front of "the Land". With these specific placements, the hand of the plural God Head, and ownership of the same, is clearly seen.

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