torah

Parshas Vayeitzei

Jacob escapes from his wicked brother Esau and travels to Charan, where he will stay with his uncle Laban. While spending the night at the future site of the Temple, G-d appears to Jacob in a dream. Rich in symbolism and meaning, the dream depicts a ladder extending from heaven to earth upon which angels are ascending and descending. After arriving in Charan, Jacob meets Laban’s daughter Rachel and agrees to work for Laban for seven years for her hand in marriage. When the wedding night finally arrives, Laban deceives Jacob by substituting his older daughter Leah in Rachel’s place. After waiting a week, Jacob also marries Rachel, but not without being forced to commit to another seven years of labor. Over the next few years Rachel remains barren, while Leah gives birth to six sons and a daughter. Bilhah and Zilpah (the maidservants of Rachel and Leah respectively) each have two sons with Jacob. Finally Rachel also has a son, Joseph. Jacob becomes very wealthy during his twenty-year stay with Laban, even though his father-in-law continually tries to swindle him. After seeking counsel with his wives, Jacob and his family flee from Laban, who pursues and confronts him, upset that he left without saying goodbye and arrogantly claiming that Jacob stole his idols. Eventually they sign a peace treaty and part ways.