Parashat Vayetzei

Rashi on Genesis 28:10:2
ויצא [AND JACOB] WENT OUT—It need have written simply “And Jacob went to Haran’’; why then does it mention his departure from Beersheba? But it intends to tell us that the departure of a righteous person from his city makes an impression. As long as a righteous man is in his city he is its glory and splendor and beauty; when he leaves it, there depart also its glory, its splendor and its beauty. This, too, is the meaning of (Ruth 1:7) “And she went forth out of the place”, stated in reference to Naomi and Ruth (Genesis Rabbah 68:6

Rashi on Genesis 28:11:1
ויפגע במקום AND HE LIGHTED UPON THE PLACE — Scripture does not mention which place, but by writing בַּמָקוֹם the place it refers to the place mentioned already in another passage, viz., Mount Moriah of which it is stated (Genesis 22:4) “And he saw the place (המקום) afar off”.

Rashi on Genesis 28:11:3
כי בא השמש BECAUSE THE SUN WAS SET — It should have written, “The sun set and he tarried there all night”, but the words “he tarried there all night because the sun set”, imply that the sun set unexpectedly — not at its proper time — just in order that he should tarry there over night).

Rashi on Genesis 28:11:4
וישם מראשתיו AND PUT THEM FOR A RESTING PLACE FOR HIS HEAD — He arranged them in the form of a drain-pipe around his head for he was afraid of wild beasts (Genesis Rabbah 68:11). They (the stones) began quarreling with one another. One said, “Upon me let this righteous man rest his head”, and another said “Upon me let him rest it”. Whereupon the Holy One, blessed be He, straightway made them into one stone! This explains what is written (Genesis 28:18), “And he took the stone that he had put under his head” (Chullin 91b).

Rashi on Genesis 28:17:1 כי אם בית אלהים THIS IS NONE OTHER THAN THE HOUSE OF GOD —R. Eleazar said in the name of R. José the son of Zimra: “This ladder stood in Beersheba and [the middle of]) its slope reached opposite the Temple” (Genesis Rabbah 69:7). For Beersheba is situated in the South of Judah, Jerusalem in the North of it on the boundary between Judah and Benjamin and Bethel in the North of Benjamin’s territory, on the border between the land of Benjamin and that of the children of Joseph. It follows, therefore, that a ladder whose foot is in Beersheba and whose top is in Bethel has the middle of its slope reaching opposite Jerusalem.

Now as regards what our Rabbis stated (Chullin 91b) that the Holy One, blessed be He, said, “This righteous man has came to the place where I dwell (i.e., the Temple at Jerusalem, whilst from here it is evident that he had come to Luz) and shall he depart without staying here over night?”, and with regard to what they also said, (Pesachim 88a) “Jacob gave the name Bethel to Jerusalem”, whereas this place which he called Bethel was Luz and not Jerusalem, whence did they learn to make this statement (which implies that Luz is identical with Jerusalem)?

I say that Mount Moriah was forcibly removed from its locality and came hither (to Luz), and that this is what is meant by the “shrinking” of the ground that is mentioned in the Treatise (Chullin 91b) — that the site of the Temple came towards him (Jacob) as far as Bethel and this too is what is meant by ויפגע במקום, “he lighted upon the place” (i.e., he “met” the place, as two people meet who are moving towards each other; cf.

Rashi on Genesis 5:11). Now, since Jacob’s route must have been from Beersheba to Jerusalem and thence to Luz and Haran and consequently when he reached Luz he had passed Jerusalem, if you should ask, “When Jacob passed the Temple why did He not make him stop there?” — If it never entered his mind to pray at the spot where his fathers had prayed should Heaven force him to stop there to do so? Really he had reached as far as Haran as we say in the Chapter גיד הנשה (Chullin 91b), and Scripture itself proves this since it states, “And he went to Haran”.

When he arrived at Haran he said, “Is it possible that I have passed the place where my fathers prayed without myself praying there?” He decided to return and got as far as Bethel where the ground “shrank” for him. This Bethel is not the Bethel that is near Ai (cf. Genesis 12:8) but that which is near Jerusalem, and because he said of it, “It shall be the House of God”, he called it Bethel. This, too, is Mount Moriah, where Abraham prayed, and it is also the field in which Isaac offered prayer as it is written, “[Isaac went out] to meditate (i. e., to pray; cf.

Genesis 24:63) in the field”. Thus, too, do we read in the Treatise (Pesachim 88a) in a comment on the verse Micah 4:2: “[O come ye and let us go up] to the mountain of the Lord (i.e. the mountain upon which the Temple is built) and to the house of the God of Jacob”. What particular reason is there for mentioning Jacob? But the text calls the Temple not as Abraham did who called it a mount, and not as Isaac did, who called it a field, but as Jacob did who called it Beth[el]—the House of God. (To here from “This Bethel” is to be found in a certain correct Rashi-text)

Rashi on Genesis 28:17:3
וזה שער השמים AND THIS IS THE GATE OF HEAVEN — a place of prayer where their prayers would ascend to heaven (Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer 35). The Midrash states (Genesis Rabbah 69:7) that the Heavenly Temple is situated immediately opposite the Earthly Temple (so that the Temple at Jerusalem-Bethel may be styled “the gate” to the Heavenly Temple)

Rashi on Genesis 28:20:1
אם יהיה אלהים עמדי IF GOD WILL BE WITH ME — if He will keep for me these promises which He has made me that He would be with me, even as He said to me (v. 15), “Behold, I am with thee” (Genesis Rabbah 70:4),

Rashi on Genesis 28:20:2ושמרני AND IF HE WILL KEEP ME — even as He said to me (v. 15) “And I will keep thee whither soever thou goest”, (Genesis Rabbah 70:4)

Rashi on Genesis 28:20:3
ונתן לי לחם לאכול AND IF HE WILL GIVE ME BREAD TO EAT — even as He said (v. 15) “For I will not forsake thee” (Genesis Rabbah 70:4), — for one who has to beg his bread is called “forsaken”, as it is said (Psalms 37:25) “I have not seen the righteous forsaken and his seed begging bread”.

Rashi on Genesis 28:21:2
בשלום IN PEACE, perfectly free (שלם) from sin, not having learnt evil from Laban’s ways,

Rashi on Genesis 28:21:3
והיה ה’ לי לאלהים AND IF THE LORD WILL BE MY GOOD, in that His Name shall rest upon me from the beginning to the end: that no unworthy person shall be found in my descendants (Sifré, ואתחנן 31) — just as it is said (v. 15), “I will do that which I spake concerning thee”; and this promise He made to Abraham, as it is said (17:7) “To be a God unto thee and unto thy seed after thee”,

Rashi on Genesis 28:22:1
והאבן הזאת THEN THIS STONE — This is how you should explain the ו of והאבן: if He will do these things mentioned in Genesis 28:15 as He promised, then I, also, will do this:

Rashi on Genesis 28:22:2
והאבן הזאת אשר שמתי מצבה THEN THIS STONE WHICH I HAVE SET UP FOR A PILLAR etc. — Explain it as the Targum translates it: “I shall serve the Lord upon it” This, indeed, he did on his return from Padan-aram, when God said to him, (Genesis 35:1) “Arise, go up to Bethel”. What is stated there? “And Jacob set up a pillar … and he poured out a drink-offering thereon” (Genesis 35:14).