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Vayetzei ~ 5773 ~ ויצא
Jacob encamps overnight on the way to Lavan. He dreams of Angels ascending and descending a ladder. G-d promises the Land of Israel to his children. In return, Jacob promises G-d 10% of all his possessions.
Jacob meets his cousin Rachel at the Well of Haran. Jacob helps water his uncle’s flock. He is brought to his Uncle Lavan’s house with great fanfare, but after 30 days grace, Lavan offers him work.
In lieu of wages, Jacob agrees to work seven years for Lavan’s younger daughter Rachel. Lavan tricks Jacob into marrying the elder daughter Leah, apparently the local custom. Jacob works another seven years for Rachel. With his hand maids Zilpah and Bilha, Jacob has eleven sons and a daughter, their names listed here. The events leading up to the specific births of Leah’s fifth and sixth sons and her daughter Dina are given here. Rachel gives birth to Joseph. Jacob now wants to leave Lavan and enters into negotiations. Jacob remains an-other seven years in return for all the speckled and spotted sheep and goats. Through a clever device Jacob manipulates the flock to yield high ratios of speckled animals.
Jacob waits for Lavan to leave to sheer his sheep and then flees. Angered by the loss of his Terafim (idols), Lavan chases after Jacob. Rachel had actually taken the House-Idols and ingeniously hid them. Jacob is rebuked by Lavan for his “underhanded” ways. Lavan and Jacob make a peace treaty consummated by a meal and promises of good will.
MAFTIR: Genesis 32:1-3 ~ page 117
HAFTARAH Hoshea 12:13-14;10 ~ pages 118-121
Assyria threatens to invade the Northern Kingdom and Hosea pleads with the people to return to G-d. In his opening words – “and Jacob fled into the field of Aram and Israel served for a wife” – he reminds them how, from the very beginning, G-d has been their Redeemer, guiding Jacob in his hour of distress and delivering their ancestors from Egyptian slavery. The power of Ephraim (the Northern Kingdom) had once been great but Baal-worship had proved its downfall and the invaders would destroy its people. Yet even at this late hour true repentance and renunciation of idolatry and alliances with idol-worshipping nations would secure G-d’s love and mercy.
Parashah Study Questions
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1. The distance from Beer Sheva to Jerusalem is 42 miles. Is it possible that Jacob traveled this sizable distance in one day, walking (28:10)?
2. Is the Torah’s description of Leah’s eyes positive or critical (29:16)?
3. If ‘af’ (óà) means ‘nose’ what does “óà øçéå” literally mean (30:2)?
4. According to ancient herbal pharmacology, what were the medicinal properties of “dudaim” (30:14)? Is there any scientific foundation for this belief?
5. Jacob bartered with Lavan for sheep, goats and cattle – where did the camels come from (31:17)?