There are some that say that this parashah is "closed"
because Yaakov left in secret, and fled under the cloak of disquise.
commonly used system of chapter numbers does not carry any halachic or
exegetic authority. With the exceptions of Tehillim and Eichah, that
division is not a masoretic origin, nor does it stem from any other Jewish
source; rather, it was invented by gentile Bible scholars. Chapter
divisions were first introduced into Tanach by Yaakov ibn Adoniyahu in the
1524 Venice edition,f or practical reasons (see his introduction, reprinted
in Mikraot Gedolot, Warsaw, 1894).
According to masoretic tradition, the text of
Scripture is divided into parashiyot
(paragraph-like passages), separated from one another by a black space, and
that is how Tanach scrolls are witten. These spaces appear in one of two
open, indicated by ending the previous passage in the middle of a a
line and then begining the new passage at the beginning of the next line, or
setumah, closed, indiated by
the new passage begining on the same line on which the previous passage
ended, but after a space in which at least nine letters could be written.
The Baal HaTurim explains the opinion that no space is
left (VeChur LaZahav). Halachah follows the
view that there is a space between Toldot and Vayetze, and that space is
Hilchot Sefer Torah 8:4 and
Hagahot Maimoniyot 3; also
Or Torah and Minchat Shai)
The verse before ours ends with
to himself for a wife, juxtaposed to that is
Yaakov departed, for the purpose of Yaakov's departure was to take a
the Torah has already stated that Yaakove went forth to seek a wife
(28:1-2), the Baal HaTurim's allusion seems
superfluous. Consider, however, that both Rivkah and Yitzchak had
instructed Yaakov to leave Beer-sheva for Charan, but for different
reasons. Rivkah, who had been prophetcially informed of Esav's thoughts,
"May the days of mourning for my father draw near, then I will kill my
brother Yaakov" (27:41, see Rashi
there), sent Yaakov to Charan to seek shelter at the home of her brother
Lavan. But Yitzchak, unaware of the threat Esav posed to Yaakov, sent
Yaakov forth to seek a wife from the family of Lavan
(27:41-28:2). In this comment, the Baal
HaTurim shows that Yaakov's prime reason for going was not because he shared
his mother's fear of Esav; rather, his purpose was to find himself a wife
who would meet his father's criteria (VeChur
-Yaakov... from Beer-sheva.
Vayetze Yaakov miBeer-sheva
- Yaakov departed from Beer-sheva.
[When rearranged,] the final letters of these words
for Yaakov hid himself in the academy of Ever.
Yaakov left his parents' home for Charan, he first went to the academy of
Ever, the great-grandson of Noach's son Shem [who was no longer alive and
who had also founded an academy at which Yaakov had studied in his youth,
where he studied for 14 years (Megillah 17a).
Vayifga bamakom -
He encountered the place.
The word makom,
place, appears 3 times in this verse, an allusion to the 3 pilgrimage
festivals (Shemot 45:17-23; Devarim 16:16) at
which times Yaakov's descnedants would ascend to this place.
place was Mount Moriah, the site of the Beit HaMikdash. It was there that
Avraham bound Yitzchak on the altar (chapter 22);
ther that Yitzchk went out ot the field to pray
(24:63); and there that
Yaakov prayed (Pesachim 88a; Chullin 91b)
Ki-va hashemesh -
Because the sun had set.
The initial letters of these words spell
extinguished itself. For the light of the sun extinguished itself before
its usual time.
Yaakov prayed at Mount Moriah on his way to Charan, G-d said, "How can I let
this tzaddik leave My house without having spent the night here?" And so He
made the sun set before its time (Chullin 91b;
Bereishit Rabbah 68:10). Thus, Yaakov was
unable to continue traveling until he reached a populated area, but was
forced to rest in that place (Rashbam).
Chalom - A dream.
The gematria of this word (84) is equal to that of
zehu binevuah, this
means through prophecy.
Sulam - A ladder.
The gematria of this word (130)
is equal to that of the phrase zeh kisey
hakavod, this refers to the throne of glory.
The gematria of
is equal to that of kol,
sound, voice. For sound of the prayers of the righteous
serves as a ladder upon which the angels may ascend. This is similar to the
incident of the angel who ascended in the flame of [Manoach's] offering
(Shoftim 13:20), for prayer
is tantamount to the Altar service (Taanit 2).
Therefore, whoever focuses his intent upon his
prayers causes the ladder to be complete with all its rungs, and they, i.e.,
the angels, are able to ascend (Peirush HaRokeach).
Vehineh sulam And
behold! A ladder.
The gematria of this phrase (196) is equal to that of
the end, for G-d showed Yaakov the appointed time for the end of the
gematria of this word (130) is equal to that of
Sinai, for G-d showed Yaakov the
Yisraelim standing at Mount Sinai (Peirush
HaRokeach; Bereishit Rabbah 68:12).
Mutzav - Standing.
The masoretic note indicates that this word appears 3
times in the Tanach:
Here in Bereishit 28:12
elon mutzhav asher biShechem,
the Plain of the Standing Stone which
was in Shechem (Shoftim 9:6).
vetzarti alayich mutzav, and will attack you with a standing seige-tower
This implies that G-d showed Yaakov the entry of his
descendants into Eretz Yisrael, as alluded to by the Standing Stone
which was in Shechem, for this was the first place that they conquered. And
the exile also began there (this seems to refer to the break up of Eretz
Yisrael into 2 kingdoms), as alluded to in the verse, and will attack you
with a standing seige-tower.
Mutzav artzah verosho magia hashamaimah
- Standing earthward with its top reaching heavenward.
This is an allusion to one who is temporarily cast
earthward, but will [ultimately] ascend heavenward.
Malachei Elokim -
Angels of G-d.
This phrase appears twice in the Tanach:
Vayifg'u-vo malachei Elokim,
and angels of G-d encountered him (32:2)
This reflects our Sages' comment in the Midrash that the
angels who accompanied Yaakov in Eretz Yisrael did not accompany him outside
Thus, angels of G-d ascending refers to those
who accompanied Yaakov in Eretz Yisrael; and angels of G-d encountered him
refers to when Yaakov returned to Eretz YisraelY,
the same angels of G-d who had earlier ascended, now encountered him to
accompany him in Eretz Yisrael once again.
that Yaakov was leaving Eretz Yisrael, they could no longer accompany him,
so they ascended to await his return.
Vehineh Hashem -
And behold! Hashem.
This phrase appears 4 times in the Tanach:
Here, vehineh Hashem
nitzav alav, And behold! Hashem was standing
over him (Bereishit 28:13)
veheneh Ad-nai nitzav, And behold! The L-rd was standing (Amos 7:7)
regarding the Altar.
vehineh Hashem ose arubot bashmayim,
Now, behold! If Hashem should make windows in the heavens (2Melachim
ve-amadta vahar lifnei Hashem vehineh Hashem over,
...and stand upon the mountain before Hashem, and behold! Hashem passed by
SimilarlyY, the verse,
And behold! Hashem passed by refers to the
Divine Chariot, and similarly, the verse, and
behold! A ladder standing earthward, alludes to the Divine
these verses are to be expounded. Here it is stated,
And behold! Hashem was standing over him,
and there it is stated,
And behold! The L-rd was standing,
regarding the Altar. Just as that verse speaks of the Altar, so does this
verse speak of the Altar; and it is written,
And behold! A ladder standing earthward,
which is explained as referring to the Altar and to
the Altar's ramp. Similarly, there it is said,
Now, behold! If Hashem should make windows in the
heavens, and here it is said,
and this is the gate of the heaves (28:17),
and, it is also stated, And behold! Hashem
passed by, and it is written,
lo vara-ash Hashem... lo va-esh Hashem, Hashem is not in the earthquake... Hashem is not
in the fire (1Melachim 19:11-12),
all of which refer to the Divine Chariot.