vayetze Ya'akov mi-Be'er-sheva vayelech Charanah - Yaakov left Beer-sheva and went toward Charan

Beer Sheva is part of the land of Yisrael as we have been told in 26:23 that Yitzchak moved from the land of the Pelishtim to Beer Sheva.  Seeing that we know that Yitzchak never left the land of Yisrael it is clear that Beer Sheva was part of this land.  We also read that Yitzchak had named the town (26:33).  Whereas the Torah had never mentioned that Yaakov moved to Beer Sheva, it is clear that when the Torah mentioned that he departed from there he must have first obtained permission from G-d to do so.  He did so as otherwise he could not comply with the mitzvah of his father to go to his uncle Lavan an d to marry one of his daughters.  The words "he went to Charan" then may mean that he obtained permission for this specific journey and its purpose. 

According to the Midrash we must assume that at the time Yaakov and Yitzchak lived in Kiryat Arbah, and the reason Yaakov went there was to consult G-d Who had previously communicated with his father there and given him assurances.  According to Bereishit Rabbah 68, Yaakov reasoned that just as G-d had appeared to his father at this spot so He might appear to him in response to his prayer.  If He were to permit him to leave Eretz Yisrael he would go, if not he would not leave this country. 

The proper sequence of what occurred: 

Yaakov left, he encountered G-d, he spent the night there (v16) where he had that encounter.  The word bamakom with the vowel patach under the letter bet, alludes to a place he knew, i.e. Mount Moriyah where he had previously had a vision of G-d.  Permission to travel northwards was granted as G-d said to him He would be with him on the way he would travel, etc. (v13-15).  After Yaakov had spent the night at Mount Moriyah and G-d had given him permission to leave, i.e. had promised him to bring him back to this land, the reference of "to this land" was to Beer Sheva which is part of the land of Yisrael.  Having had this assurance, Yaakov set out in an easterly direction.  Yaakov took a very round about route, first traveling north from Kiyat Arbah (Chevron) to Mount Moriyah (Yerushalayim); from there he traveled south to Beer Sheva in a north-easterly direction heading for Charan.    (A difficulty is that the Torah never reported Yaakov as returning to Beer Sheva.  It only mentions his return to Kiryat Arbah  35:27).  He set out directly for Charan only after having stopped over in Beer Sheva.  Our entire portion then discusses only what he experienced at Mount Moriyah and after he had spent at least one night at Beer Sheva. 

According to Bereishit Rabbah 68:8 Yaakov covered the distances reported here in a single day all the way from Beer Sheva to Charan.  The basis for this is the similarity of the wording here with the description of Eli'ezer's journey in 24:10-11(the mention of the time of day when Eli'ezer arrived, i.e. in the evening and Eli'ezer had made mention of the fact that he arrived at the well the same day [24:42] when he said I arrived at the fountain this day" i.e. the day he had left Avraham).

Another Midrash (Chulin 91) focusing on the words "he encountered the place," states that when Yaakov was already close to Charan it suddenly occurred to him that he might have passed by a place where his father and grandfather had offered a prayer to G-d and he had failed to do so.  As he made ready to retrace his steps, the earth "folded" beneath his fet so that he encountered the spot in question without having to go back all that way.  The place in question was Mount Moriyah. 

The true message of that Midrash is that Midrash is that Yaakov expressed a longing for Mount Moriyah and the chance to offer a prayer there.  G-d obliged him by saving him the journey and he experienced a sensation equivalent to Mount Moriyah being where he found himself.  In order to reconcile the two Midrashim we must say that Yaakov experienced two such miraculous telescoping of the earth beneath him.  The first time was when he went from Beer Sheva to Charan in a single day, a journey which he had undertaken willingly.  The second time he experienced this phenomenon was in order to save him the trouble to retrace his steps.

There is another Midrash in Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer 35, according to which Yaakov took 12 of the stones of the altar Avraham had built on Mount Moriyah and on which his father had been bound.  This was a hint that in the future twelve tribes would emerge from him that they would all merge to become a single nation.  The words: "He took the stone which he had put under his head" are an allusion to the unification of the Jewish people of whom David had said in 2Shmuel 7:23, "and who is like Your nation Yisrael, a unique and unified nation on earth." (v18).