Parshas Vayeitzei- Summary of the Parsha

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Parshas Vayeitzei

Pesukim: 148 [Siman: חלקי]

Haftorah:[1] Hosheia 11:7-12:14

Number of Mitzvos:

There are no Positive or Negative commands mentioned in Parshas Vayeitzei.


  1. Yaakov’s dream:
    • Yaakov sleeps during his journey to Charan: Yaakov departed from Beer Sheva and traveled towards Charan. [During his journey] he encountered the place [called Har Hamoriah, or the Temple Mount] and slept there, being that the sun had set. He took stones from the area and placed them around his head and laid down to sleep.
    • The dream, the angels, and the blessings from G-d: Yaakov had a dream. In the dream he saw a ladder reaching from the earth to the heavens, and there were angels ascending and descending from it. Hashem was standing over Yaakov and He said to him “I am Hashem the G-d of Avraham your father, and the G-d of Yitzchak. The land which you are resting on will be given to you and your descendants. Your descendants will multiply like the dust of the earth, and you will burst forth to all the directions of the world, the east, west, north and south. All the earth will bless themselves through you and your descendants. I am with you, and I will guard you wherever you go. I will return you to this land.”
  1. Yaakov awakens and makes a vow to Hashem:
  • Yaakov awakened from his sleep and he said, indeed, G-d is found in this place and I did not know. Yaakov became frightened and said “How awe-striking is this place. This is non other than a house of G-d and it is the gate of Heaven.”
  • The Matzeiva: Yaakov awoke in the morning and took the stone that he placed around his head and erected it as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. He called the place “Beis Ail,” however Luz was its original name.
  • The vow: Yaakov then made a vow, stating “If G-d will be with me, and guard me on my journey, and provide me with food to eat and clothing to wear, and return me to my father’s home in peace, and become for me a G-d, then this stone which I have set up will become a house of G-d, and all that I will earn will be tithed for You.”



  1. Yaakov arrives to Charan:
  • The rock sitting on the well: Yaakov lifted his feat and traveled towards the land of the east [to Charan]. He arrived [at Charan] and saw three flocks of sheep lying around the drinking well. There was a very large stone sitting on the opening of the well. Customarily, the shepherds would wait until all the flocks of sheep had arrived and they would then together roll the rock off the well and water the sheep.
  • Yaakov converses with the shepherds: Yaakov asked the shepherds “My brothers, where are you from,” to which they replied “we are from Charan.” Yaakov then asked the shepherds if they knew Lavan the son of Nachor and they replied in the affirmative. They said that Lavan is doing well, and behold here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep. Yaakov chastised the shepherds, telling them it is not yet time to settle the sheep, as the day is still long, and they should water them and then go back to grazing. They replied that they cannot do so until all the shepherds have gathered and are then able to roll the stone off the well.
  • Yaakov meets Rachel and removes the stone: While they were talking, Rachel arrived with her father’s sheep, as she was a shepherd. When Yaakov saw his cousin Rachel, he stepped forward and rolled the rock off the well opening and gave the sheep of Lavan to drink. Yaakov kissed Rachel and cried with a raised voice. He told her that he is her cousin, the son of Rivka. Rachel ran to tell her father of the news of his arrival.
  • Yaakov meets Lavan: When Lavan heard of his nephews arrival he ran to greet him. He kissed him and hugged him and brought him into his house. Yaakov told Lavan all that had transpired [with Eisav]. Lavan responded to Yaakov “Do not worry, You are my bone and my flesh.” Yaakov lodged by Lavan for thirty days.
  1. Yaakov works to marry Rachel:
  • [Yaakov began working for Lavan for free, and thus] Lavan told Yaakov that just because they are family does not mean that he has to work for him for free, and that Yaakov should ask for a salary.
  • Lavan’s daughters: Lavan had two daughters, the older one was Leah and the younger was Rachel. The eyes of Leah were tender while Rachel was beautiful in both figure and appearance.



  • Yaakov works for Rachel: Yaakov loved Rachel and he offered Lavan to work for him for seven years in exchange for his daughter Rachel’s hand in marriage. Lavan agreed to the proposal, stating that it is better he give his daughter to Yaakov than to another man. So Yaakov worked in exchange for Rachel for seven years. Due to his great love for her, it appeared in his eyes like only a few days.
  1. The wedding scandal:
  • The wedding: After completing the years of work, Yaakov asked Lavan to give him his wife. Lavan gathered all the people in the community and they made a wedding feast. At night, Lavan took his daughter Leah and gave her to Yaakov for a wife, and he consummated the marriage with her. Lavan also gave Leah his maidservant called Zilpa, to be a maidservant for her.
  • The morning after-The confrontation: In the morning, Yaakov noticed that he had been tricked, and was given Leah as a wife. Yaakov confronted Lavan saying “What have you done to me? I worked for you in exchange for Rachel. Why have you deceived me?” Lavan replied “It is not the custom of our town to marry the younger daughter before the older.” Lavan then gave Yaakov a second offer “Work for me another seven years, and in exchange I will give you also this daughter [Rachel] after the week is up.
  • Yaakov marries Rachel: Yaakov agreed to the proposal and married Rachel at the end of the week. Yaakov consummated the marriage with Rachel and loved her more than Leah. He worked for Lavan for another seven years.


  1. Yaakov has children:
    • Leah gives birth to Reuvein, Shimon, Levi and Yehuda: Hashem saw that Leah was hated and he thus opened her womb, although Rachel was barren. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son whom she named Reuvein, in commemoration of the fact that “Hashem has seen my suffering, as now my husband will love me.” She again became pregnant and had a son whom she named Shimon, in commemoration of the fact that “Hashem has heard that I am hated, and thus gave me another son.” She again became pregnant and had a son whom she named Levi, in commemoration of the fact that “Now my husband will attach to me as I have borne him three sons.” She again became pregnant and had a son whom she named Yehuda, as sign of thanks to Hashem. She then stopped having children.
    • Rachel confronts Yaakov: Rachel saw that she had not borne Yaakov any children and she was jealous of her sister. She demanded from Yaakov to give her children as otherwise “I am like dead.” Yaakov became angered and chastised her saying “Am I in place of G-d who has withheld children from you?”
    • Rachel gives Bilhah to Yaakov in marriage: In response, Rachel told Yaakov to take her maidservant Bilhah in marriage so she can have a child through her and raise him. Yaakov took Bilhah as a wife and he consummated the marriage with her.
    • Bilhah gives birth to Dan and Naftali: Bilhah became pregnant and had a son for Yaakov who Rachel named Dan, in commemoration of the fact that “Hashem has judged me [favorably] and heard my voice to give me a son.” Bilhah again became pregnant and had a second son for Yaakov who Rachel named Naftali, in commemoration of the fact that “I have stubbornly offered my prayers to Hashem to bond with my sister and become an equal.”
    • Leah gives Zilpah to Yaakov in marriage: Leah saw that she stopped giving birth, so she gave her maidservant Zilpah to Yaakov in marriage.
    • Zilpah gives birth to Gad and Asher: Zilpah gave birth to a son for Yaakov who Leah named Gad, from the word Bagad, which means a good fortune has come. Zilpah again gave birth to a second son for Yaakov who Leah named Asher, from the word Ashruni, as now “I am praised/fortunate because now women will praise me, and deem me fortunate.”



  • Rachel trades her night with Yaakov in exchange for Reuvein’s flowers: Reuvein went out in the days of the wheat harvest and found Dudaim [jasmine] in the field. He gave them to his mother Leah. Rachel asked Leah to give her some of the flowers of her son. Leah replied “Is it not enough that you have taken my husband that now you want to take my sons flowers!” In response, Rachel told Leah that in exchange for the flowers, Leah could sleep with Yaakov that night. That night upon Yaakov’s arrival from the field, Leah came to greet him, telling him that she bought off Rachel with the Dudaim flowers of her son. Yaakov slept with her that night.
  • Leah gives birth to Yissachar, Zevulun, and Dina: Hashem hearkened to Leah and she became pregnant and gave birth to a fifth son who she named Yissachar, in commemoration of the fact that “Hashem has rewarded me for having given my maidservant to my husband.” She again became pregnant and had a sixth son for Yaakov who she named Zevulun, in commemoration of the fact that “Hashem has merited me with a good endowment, as I have borne my husband six sons and now he will make his permanent home with me.” Afterwards Leah had a daughter who she named Dina.
  • Rachel gives birth to Yosef: Hashem remembered Rachel and hearkened to her and opened her womb. She became pregnant and had a son who she called Yosef in commemoration of the fact that “Hashem has gathered [and concealed] my disgrace” and as a future prayer that “Hashem should add on for me another son.”
  1. Yaakov asks to leave:
  • After Rachel gave birth to Yosef, Yaakov asked Lavan to let him go back to his home and take his wives and children with him, as he worked for them in exchange. Lavan replied that he does not want Yaakov to leave as he has the belief that he was blessed by G-d due to his presence.



  1. Yaakov makes new business arrangement with Lavan and becomes wealthy:
    • The business negotiations: Lavan [in attempt to convince Yaakov to remain] asked Yaakov to specify a wage he would like to receive in exchange for his work in shepherding the flock. Yaakov replied that he has been a faithful and successful shepherd, causing Lavan’s flock to expand tremendously, and now he desires to prosper for his own home. Lavan once again asked Yaakov what he can offer him as payment, and Yaakov replied as follows: “Do not give me anything. If you agree to the following, then I agree to continue working as a shepherd for your sheep.”
    • The business agreement: Yaakov offered the following business arrangement which was readily accepted by Lavan. Yaakov would examine all the flocks of sheep and goats and remove from them all speckled, dappled, and brownish lamb, and speckled or dappled goats. My wage will then be all future sheep that are brown, and all future goats that are speckled or dappled. This method would allow Yaakov’s integrity to remain unshakeable, as it would be blatantly obvious that he stole if he takes any sheep or goats that are not colored as stated above.
    • Separating the brown and speckled sheep/goats: That very day, Lavan removed the dappled goats and all the brown sheep, and gave them to his sons. These sheep and goats were moved to a distance of three days from Yaakov and his flocks. Yaakov then resumed caring for the remaining flock of Lavan.
    • Yaakov’s business schemes to achieve brown and speckled sheep/goats: Yaakov took a rod of poplar, hazel and chestnut and peeled stripes into them, in a way that revealed their underlying white skin. Yaakov positioned the striped white colored rods into the watering pools where the flock would come to drink. The flock would face these rods when they came to drink and became heated in a way that they conceived and gave birth to ringed, speckled and dappled sheep. Yaakov then took these speckled and brown sheep and placed them at the head of the flock, thus causing the animals to face them. Yaakov made separate herds for his and Lavin’s sheep. During the mating season of the early bearing flocks, Yaakov would place the rods in view of the flock, by the water streams in order to stimulate them. The late bearing flock, however, he did not place in front of the rods, and so it was that the early bearing flocks went to Yakov and the late bearing one’s went to Lavan.
    • Yaakov’s wealth and the ensuing jealousy: Yaakov became very wealthy, and he amassed much flock, servants, camels and donkeys. Lavan’s sons became jealous and exclaimed that Yaakov had usurped all their fathers wealth. When Yaakov became aware of this, he noticed that Lavan was not happy with him as in previous times.


  1. Hashem tells Yaakov to leave:
  • Hashem appeared to Yaakov and told him to return to his fathers land. Yaakov summoned Rachel and Leah to meet him in the field. Yaakov explained to them the situation with Lavan and how he was now no longer on good terms with him.
  • Yaakov describes how he managed to amass his wealth despite Lavan’s schemes: Yaakov told his wives the following: Lavan had changed my wages tens of times, changing the terms of agreement from me receiving the ringed sheep to me receiving the spotted sheep, although Hashem stood by my side and made the flock give birth to whatever was agreed that I would receive, and thus I managed to amass wealth from your fathers flock. Behold, I even saw in a dream that during the mating season [an angel came and brought] the speckled, spotted, and striped male goats to mate. In the dream, the angel told me to see how all the male goats mating are speckled, spotted and striped, as I have seen all that Lavan has done to you. The angel then instructed me to return home.
  • Rachel and Leah agree to leave: Rachel and Leah both responded that they no longer have a portion in the father’s household, and he treated them like strangers, selling them, and consuming their money. “Now do all that G-d tells you.”



  1. Yaakov and family flee:
  • Yaakov arose and lifted his sons and wives onto the camels, and took all his livestock and possessions and traveled to Padan Aram.
  • Rachel steals the Terafim: When this happened, Lavan was away shearing his sheep, and Rachel took the opportunity and stole the Terafim [idols] of her father.
  • Yaakov deceived Lavan by running away without informing him. He crossed the river and set towards Mount Gilead.
  1. Lavan discovers Yaakov’s escape and sets chase for him:
  • On the third day of Yaakov’s escape, Lavan was informed that he had run away. He took his brethren with him and chased after Yaakov for a seven day’s journey, and met up with him by Mount Gilead.
  • Hashem warns Lavan: Hashem appeared to Lavan in a dream at night and warned him not to speak with Yaakov neither good or bad.


  1. Lavan confronts Yaakov:
  • Lavan arrived to Yaakov’s location and confronted him saying “What have you done, that you have deceived me and taken my daughters like captives of war. Why did you flee so deceptively and not inform me so I could send you off with a band and parade? You withheld me from kissing my sons and daughters. You have acted foolishly, as my deities have ability to harm you, but your G-d forewarned me yesterday not to do so. Now, I understand if you are longing for your father’s house, but why did you steal my Terafim.”
  • Yaakov responds: Yaakov replied that Lavan is free to search for his gods and that whoever they are found with will not live. Yaakov was not aware that Rachel stole them.
  • Lavan searches for his idols: Lavan went into the tents of Rachel, Leah and the two maidservants, and back to the tent of Rachel, but he did not find them. In truth, Rachel took the Terafim and hid them under the saddle of the camel which she was sitting on. Lavan searched through the whole tent but could not find them. Rachel told her father that he should excuse her for not standing up in his honor, as she is menstruating.
    • Yaakov confronts Lavan: Yaakov became angered and scolded Lavan saying “What is it that you want? What have I sinned against you that you pursue me? You searched all my belongings, and did you find anything that is yours? I worked for you for twenty years honestly and hard, taking all the loses that occurred to the flock. I worked in the heat of day and snow of night, with little sleep. I worked in exchange of your two daughters for 14 years, and 6 years I worked for your flock, and you changed by wages tens of times. If not for G-d watching me I would have left empty handed.”



  1. Yaakov and Lavan make a pact:
    • Lavan replied to Yaakov “Everything that you see is mine, the daughters are mine, the sons are mine, the flocks are mine. How could I harm them! Now, let us make a pact with each other.”
    • The mound and monument: Yaakov took a stone and raised it as a monument. Yaakov had his sons gather stones and they made a mound, on which they ate. Lavan called the area Yegar Sahadusa, while Yaakov called it Gal-Aid. Lavan stated that the mound is a witness of the pact made and that Hashem will watch to see if Yaakov oppresses his daughters. The mound is a witness that I may not cross over to do evil to you and you may not cross over it to do evil to me. Yaakov swore to the pact in the Dread of his father Yitzchak. Yaakov slaughtered animals and they sat down for a meal, sleeping on the mountain.
    • Lavan leaves: In the morning Lavan rose and kissed his sons and daughters and blessed them. Lavan left the place and returned home.
    • Yaakov continues his travels: Yaakov continued on his journey and met angels of G-d. Yaakov exclaimed that this is a G-dly camp and he thus named it Machanayim.


[1] So is followed by Chabad communities. However, Sepharadic communities conclude at 13:5. Ashkenazi communities read from 12:13-14:10.

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