01 Dec
Parsha Vayetzei

Vayetzei וַיֵּצֵא‎— and he left

This week's Parsha begins with Yaakov leaving his home in Beersheva and coming to Haran where his mother Rivkah was from. Yaakov was leaving because Eisav his brother wanted to kill him, and his mother Rivka told him to go Haran and to stay with his uncle.

On his way to Haran, Yaakov meets his nephew Eliphaz. Eisav ordered his son Eliphaz to kill his uncle Yaakov. Eliphaz asked Yaakov what to do and Yaakov told him to take all his money and jewelry. Eliphaz took all of Yaakov's wealth.

 While Yaakov was on his way to Harran, he came to Mount Moriah and camped there for a night. Yaakov set up stones. One was his pillow and he placed the rest around him to protect him from wild animals. While he fell asleep  the rocks began to argue and Hashem joined the 12 stones into one. This was a sign  from Hashem that Yaakov would have 12 children.  After a mysterious night Yaakov dreamt of a ladder, he saw angels descending and ascending. 

Yaakov reached Haran and he meets Rachel at the well. Daughter of Lavan. When Yaakov met Rachel he started to cry. There are two reasons for this. One of the reasons he cried was because  he had nothing to offer Rachel like Eliezer did when he asked Rivka to be Yitzchak's wife and, he saw that Rachel would not be buried next to him when she would die. 

Yaakov asks Rachel if she will marry him and she says yes. Rachel warned Yaakov that her father Lavan was a tricky man and that he would try to trick him. Rachel says I have an older sister and my father won't let me marry before her. Yaakov and Rachel come up with a secret message that only they knew and they would recite it to each other at the chuppah. 

Rachel takes Yaakov home to meet her father, Lavan. When Lavan heard that Avraham's grandson had arrived he immediately remembered the time when Avraham's servant Eliezer came with riches. Lavan welcomes Yaakov into his home and Yaakov tells Lavan what happened when he met Eliphaz and how he does not have anything to offer. Lavan was disappointed. Lavan tells Yaakov he can marry his daughter and in return, he would work for him for seven years. 

Lavan had two daughters, Leah and Rachel. Leah was the olderst and her eyes were weak. They used to say since Yitzchak has two sons, and his Lavan had two daughters Yaakov, the youngest would marry Rachel, and Eisav would marry Leah the oldest. When Leah found out what kind of man Eisavv was she cried to Hashem. Leah prayed so much that she would not marry a man like Eisav.

Seven years have passed and it was time for  Yaakov to marry Rachel. But when the wedding night arrives, Yaakov marries Leah. Lavan  switches Rachel for her older sister Leah. It’s not until the next morning that Yaakov realizes that he is now married to Leah. Lavan gave Leah a wedding present and he gave her a maidservant named Zilpah. How was Yaakov tricked if Rachel and Yaakov had a secret code? Rachel shared it with Leah because she knew that Yakkov would refuse to marry her and shame her under the chuppah. When Yaakov finds out Lavan cheated him he was angry. Lavan offers him to work another seven years for his daughter Rachel and Yaakov agrees. 

When Yaakov marries Rachel, Lavan gives her a wedding gift and he gave her Bilah. Leah gives Yaakov four sons. Rueven, Shimon, Levi, and Yehudah. Meanwhile, Rachel struggles with infertility so she did what our mother Sarah did. She asked Yaakov to marry her maidservant Billah. Billah was blessed with two kids. Dan and Naphtali. 

Leah stopped giving birth and she did what Rachel did. She asked Yaakov to marry Zilpah her maidservant. Zilpah had two children Gad and Asher. Then Leah had two more children after that and they were Yissachar and Zevulun. After ten boys Yaakov finally had a daughter. All this time Rachel still has not conceived and she poured her heart into Hashem and a miracle came. Hashem heard her prayer and she had Yosef.

 After fourteen years have passed, Yaakov has completed his work for Lavan. He desires to leave Lavan’s house and return home but Lavan convinces him to stay. Yaakov bought so much wealth to Lavan. From the time Yaakov came the number of animals in his flock has increased. He wanted the blessing that Yaakov had brought to continue. Lavan and Yaakov agreed upon an arrangement where Laban’s animals were divided. 

Yaakov has a dream and Hashem tells him it is time for him to return to his homeland. Yaakov calls Rachel and Leah and tells them he wishes to leave and they agreed. Yaakov packed up all his belonging, his wealth, flocks, wives, and children. While Laban is away from the house, Rachel steals her father’s idols and Yaakov leaves without saying goodbye. Rachel hoped that by stealing the idols her father would give up his belief in the idols and not worship them. When Laban heard that Yaakov had fled, he came after them. Hashem came to Laban in a dream saying, “Do not speak to Jacob either good or bad.” 

The next morning Lavan and Yaakov came face to face. Lavan tried to trick him again and say if I had known you were leaving I would have planned a fancy goodbye party. You didn't even give me a chance to kiss my family goodbye. He mentioned that he had the power to hurt him but Hashem came to him last night and warned him not to touch him. Lavan accused him of stealing his idols. Yaakov offered him to look through the tents and says whoever has stolen them let them be cursed. Now, Yaakov did not know that  Rachel had taken the idols. Rachel had put the idols in a saddlebag and sat on it. When Lavan searched through the tents he could not find anything.  Now this made Yaakov very mad. He told Lavan if it wasn't for Hashem protecting him, he would be a poor man.

 Yaakov and Lavan come up with a treaty. Yaakov shall not mistreat his wives or marry anyone else in addition Lavan and Yaakov set up stones as a marker and had a feast. The next day Yaakov went on his way home and he saw angels going to heaven and new angels coming down to protect him.

Fascinating facts and questions. 

Who are Billah and Zilpah?

Our tradition tells us that Laban also had two wives. Most traditions assert that Laban’s second, inferior wife was a concubine, while others posit that she was actually his maidservant. Leah and Rachel were sisters born of Laban’s primary wife, and Bilhah and Zilpah were daughters of his second wife, making Bilhah and Zilpah the half-sisters of Rachel and Leah. Before they married, Laban gifted Bilhah and Zilpah to Leah and Rachel as handmaidens.-https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/4936938/jewish/Who-Were-Bilhah-and-Zilpah.htm 

When Yaakov left Beersheve the city lost its beauty. Why? Because Tzaddikim bring beauty and glory wherever they live. As soon as Yaakov left, the blessing that he brought to the city stopped. 

Yaakov had cursed whoever had stolen the idols. Since Rachel stole them, she died young. When a holy Tzadik says something, it happens. 

Though we don't see them all Jews have angels protecting us. 

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