Complete Jewish Bible
Parashah 7: Vayetze (He went out) 28:10 –32:3(2)
10 Ya‘akov went out from Be’er-Sheva and traveled toward Haran. 11 He came to a certain place and stayed the night there, because the sun had set. He took a stone from the place, put it under his head and lay down there to sleep. 12 He dreamt that there before him was a ladder resting on the ground with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of Adonai were going up and down on it. 13 Then suddenly Adonai was standing there next to him; and he said, “I am Adonai, the God of Avraham your [grand]father and the God of Yitz’chak. The land on which you are lying I will give to you and to your descendants. 14 Your descendants will be as numerous as the grains of dust on the earth. You will expand to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. By you and your descendants all the families of the earth will be blessed. 15 Look, I am with you. I will guard you wherever you go, and I will bring you back into this land, because I won’t leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
16 Ya‘akov awoke from his sleep and said, “Truly, Adonai is in this place — and I didn’t know it!” 17 Then he became afraid and said, “This place is fearsome! This has to be the house of God! This is the gate of heaven!” 18 Ya‘akov got up early in the morning, took the stone he had put under his head, set it up as a standing-stone, poured olive oil on its top 19 and named the place Beit-El [house of God]; but the town had originally been called Luz.
20 Ya‘akov took this vow: “If God will be with me and will guard me on this road that I am traveling, giving me bread to eat and clothes to wear, 21 so that I return to my father’s house in peace, then Adonai will be my God; 22 and this stone, which I have set up as a standing-stone, will be God’s house; and of everything you give me, I will faithfully return one-tenth to you.”
29 (ii) Continuing his journey, Ya‘akov came to the land of the people of the east. 2 As he looked, he saw a well in a field; and there were three flocks of sheep lying there next to it; because they watered the sheep from that well. The stone on the well’s mouth was large, 3 and only when all the flocks had gathered there would they roll the stone away from the opening of the well and water the sheep. Then they would put the stone back in its place on the well’s opening.
4 Ya‘akov said to them, “My brothers, where are you from?” They answered, “We’re from Haran.” 5 He asked them, “Do you know Lavan the [grand]son of Nachor?” They said, “We do.” 6 He asked them, “Are things going well with him?” “Yes,” they answered, “and here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.” 7 He said, “Look, there’s still plenty of daylight left; and it isn’t time to bring the animals home; so water the sheep; then go, and put them out to pasture.” 8 They answered, “We can’t, not until all the flocks have been gathered together, and they roll the stone away from the opening of the well. That’s when we water the sheep.”
9 While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, because she took care of them. 10 When Ya‘akov saw Rachel the daughter of Lavan his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Lavan his mother’s brother, Ya‘akov went up and rolled the stone away from the opening of the well and watered the flock of Lavan his mother’s brother. 11 Ya‘akov kissed Rachel and wept aloud. 12 Ya‘akov told Rachel that he was her father’s relative, and that he was Rivkah’s son; and she ran and told her father. 13 When Lavan heard the news of Ya‘akov his sister’s son, he ran to meet him, hugged him and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Ya‘akov told Lavan all that had happened. 14 Lavan said to him, “You are indeed my own flesh and blood.”
After Ya‘akov had stayed with him for a whole month, 15 Lavan said to him, “Why should you work for me for nothing, just because you are my relative? Tell me how much I should pay you.” 16 Now Lavan had two daughters; the name of the older was Le’ah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Le’ah’s eyes were weak; but Rachel was good-looking, with beautiful features.
(iii) 18 Ya‘akov had fallen in love with Rachel and said, “I will work for you seven years in exchange for Rachel your younger daughter.” 19 Lavan answered, “Better that I give her to you than to someone else; stay with me.” 20 So Ya‘akov worked seven years for Rachel, and it seemed only a few days to him, because he was so much in love with her.
21 Ya‘akov said to Lavan, “Give me my wife, since my time is finished, so that I can start living with her.” 22 Lavan gathered all the men of the place and gave a banquet. 23 In the evening he took Le’ah his daughter and brought her to Ya‘akov, and he went in and slept with her. 24 Lavan also gave his slave-girl Zilpah to his daughter Le’ah as her slave-girl.
25 In the morning Ya‘akov saw that he was with Le’ah, and he said to Lavan, “What kind of thing is this that you’ve done to me? Didn’t I work for you for Rachel? Why have you deceived me?” 26 Lavan answered, “In our place that isn’t how it’s done, to give the younger daughter before the firstborn. 27 Finish the marriage week of this one, and we’ll give you the other one also in exchange for the work you will do for me during yet another seven years.” 28 Ya‘akov agreed to this, so he finished her week, and Lavan gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife. 29 Lavan also gave to his daughter Rachel his slave-girl Bilhah as her slave-girl. 30 So not only did Ya‘akov go in and sleep with Rachel, but he also loved Rachel more than Le’ah. Then he served Lavan another seven years.
31 Adonai saw that Le’ah was unloved, so he made her fertile, while Rachel remained childless. 32 Le’ah conceived and gave birth to a son, whom she named Re’uven [see, a son!], for she said, “It is because Adonai has seen how humiliated I have been, but now my husband will love me.” 33 She conceived again, gave birth to a son and said, “It is because Adonai has heard that I am unloved; therefore he has given me this son also.” So she named him Shim‘on [hearing]. 34 Once more she conceived and had a son; and she said, “Now this time my husband will be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore she named him Levi [joining]. 35 She conceived yet again, had a son and said, “This time I will praise Adonai”; therefore she named him Y’hudah [praise]. Then she stopped having children.
30 When Rachel saw that she was not bearing children for Ya‘akov, she envied her sister and said to Ya‘akov, “Give me children, or I will die!” 2 This made Ya‘akov angry at Rachel; he answered, “Am I in God’s place? He’s the one who is denying you children.” 3 She said, “Here is my maid Bilhah. Go, sleep with her, and let her give birth to a child that will be laid on my knees, so that through her I too can build a family.” 4 So she gave him Bilhah her slave-girl as his wife, and Ya‘akov went in and slept with her. 5 Bilhah conceived and bore Ya‘akov a son. 6 Rachel said, “God has judged in my favor; indeed he has heard me and given me a son.” Therefore she called him Dan [he judged].
7 Bilhah Rachel’s slave-girl conceived again and bore Ya‘akov a second son. 8 Rachel said, “I have wrestled mightily with my sister and won,” and called him Naftali [my wrestling].
9 When Le’ah saw that she had stopped having children, she took Zilpah her slave-girl and gave her to Ya‘akov as his wife. 10 Zilpah Le’ah’s slave-girl bore Ya‘akov a son; 11 and Le’ah said, “Good fortune has come,” calling him Gad [good fortune].
12 Zilpah Le’ah’s slave-girl bore Ya‘akov a second son; 13 and Le’ah said, “How happy I am! Women will say I am happy!” and called him Asher [happy].
(iv) 14 During the wheat harvest season Re’uven went and found mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Le’ah. Rachel said to Le’ah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes [so that I can be fertile].” 15 She answered, “Isn’t it enough that you have taken away my husband? Do you have to take my son’s mandrakes too?” Rachel said, “Very well; in exchange for your son’s mandrakes, sleep with him tonight.” 16 When Ya‘akov came in from the field in the evening, Le’ah went out to meet him and said, “You have to come and sleep with me, because I’ve hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So Ya‘akov slept with her that night. 17 God listened to Le’ah, and she conceived and bore Ya‘akov a fifth son. 18 Le’ah said, “God has given me my hire, because I gave my slave-girl to my husband.” So she called him Yissakhar [hire, reward].
19 Le’ah conceived again and bore a sixth son to Ya‘akov. 20 Le’ah said, “God has given me a wonderful gift. Now at last my husband will live with me, since I have borne him six sons.” And she called him Z’vulun [living together].
21 After this, she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah [controversy over rights].
22 Then God took note of Rachel, heeded her prayer and made her fertile. 23 She conceived, had a son and said, “God has taken away my disgrace.” 24 She called him Yosef [may he add], saying, “May Adonai add to me another son.”
25 After Rachel had given birth to Yosef, Ya‘akov said to Lavan, “Send me on my way, so that I can return to my own place, to my own country. 26 Let me take my wives, for whom I have served you, and my children; and let me go. You know very well how faithfully I have served you.” 27 Lavan answered him, “If you regard me favorably, then please listen: I have observed the signs that Adonai has blessed me on account of you. (v) 28 Name your wages,” he said; “I will pay them.” 29 Ya‘akov replied, “You know how faithfully I have served you and how your livestock have prospered under my care. 30 The few you had before I came have increased substantially; Adonai has blessed you wherever I went. But now, when will I provide for my own household?” 31 Lavan said, “What should I give you?” “Nothing,” answered Ya‘akov, “just do this one thing for me: once more I will pasture your flock and take care of it. 32 I will also go through the flock and pick out every speckled, spotted or brown sheep, and every speckled or spotted goat; these and their offspring will be my wages. 33 And I will let my integrity stand as witness against me in the future: when you come to look over the animals constituting my wages, every goat that isn’t speckled or spotted and every sheep that isn’t brown will count as stolen by me.” 34 Lavan replied, “As you have said, so be it.”
35 That day Lavan removed the male goats that were streaked or spotted and all the female goats that were speckled or spotted, every one with white on it, and all the brown sheep; turned them over to his sons; 36 and put three days’ distance between himself and Ya‘akov. Ya‘akov fed the rest of Lavan’s flocks.
37 Ya‘akov took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond and plane trees and made white streaks on them by peeling off the bark. 38 Then he set the rods he had peeled upright in the watering troughs, so that the animals would see them when they came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink, 39 the animals mated in sight of the rods and gave birth to streaked, speckled and spotted young. 40 Ya‘akov divided the lambs and had the animals mate with the streaked and the brown in the flock of Lavan. He also kept his own livestock separate and did not have them mix with Lavan’s flock. 41 Whenever the hardier animals came into heat, Ya‘akov would set up the rods in the watering troughs; so that the animals would see them and conceive in front of them; 42 but he didn’t set up the rods in front of the weaker animals. Thus the more feeble were Lavan’s and the stronger Ya‘akov’s. 43 In this way the man became very rich and had large flocks, along with male and female slaves, camels and donkeys.
31 But then he heard what Lavan’s sons were saying: “Ya‘akov has taken away everything that our father once had. It’s from what used to belong to our father that he has gotten so rich.” 2 He also saw that Lavan regarded him differently than before. 3 Adonai said to Ya‘akov, “Return to the land of your ancestors, to your kinsmen; I will be with you.” 4 So Ya‘akov sent for Rachel and Le’ah and had them come to the field where his flock was. 5 He said to them, “I see by the way your father looks that he feels differently toward me than before; but the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that I have served your father with all my strength, 7 and that your father has belittled me and has changed my wages ten times; but God did not allow him to do me any damage. 8 If he said, ‘The speckled will be your wages,’ then all the animals gave birth to speckled young; and if he said, ‘The streaked will be your wages,’ then all the animals gave birth to streaked young. 9 This is how God has taken away your father’s animals and given them to me. 10 Once, when the animals were mating, I had a dream: I looked up and there in front of me the male goats which mated with the females were streaked, speckled and mottled. 11 Then, in the dream, the angel of God said to me, ‘Ya‘akov!’ and I replied, ‘Here I am.’ 12 He continued, ‘Raise your eyes now, and look: all the male goats mating with the females are streaked, speckled and mottled; for I have seen everything Lavan has been doing to you. 13 I am the God of Beit-El, where you anointed a standing-stone with oil, where you vowed your vow to me. Now get up, get out of this land, and return to the land where you were born.’” 14 Rachel and Le’ah answered him, “We no longer have any inheritance from our father’s possessions; 15 and he considers us foreigners, since he has sold us; moreover, he has consumed everything he received in exchange for us. 16 Nevertheless, the wealth which God has taken away from our father has become ours and our children’s anyway; so whatever God has told you to do, do.”
(vi) 17 Then Ya‘akov got up, put his sons and wives on the camels, 18 and carried off all his livestock, along with all the riches he had accumulated, the livestock in his possession which he had acquired in Paddan-Aram, to go to Yitz’chak his father in the land of Kena‘an.
19 Now Lavan had gone to shear his sheep, so Rachel stole the household idols that belonged to her father, 20 and Ya‘akov outwitted Lavan the Arami by not telling him of his intended flight. 21 So he fled with everything he had: he departed, crossed the [Euphrates] River and set out for the hill-country of Gil‘ad. 22 Not until the third day was Lavan told that Ya‘akov had fled.
23 Lavan took his kinsmen with him and spent the next seven days pursuing Ya‘akov, overtaking him in the hill-country of Gil‘ad. 24 But God came to Lavan the Arami in a dream that night and said to him, “Be careful that you don’t say anything to Ya‘akov, either good or bad.”
25 When Lavan caught up with Ya‘akov, Ya‘akov had set up camp in the hill-country; so Lavan and his kinsmen set up camp in the hill-country of Gil‘ad. 26 Lavan said to Ya‘akov, “What do you mean by deceiving me and carrying off my daughters as if they were captives taken in war? 27 Why did you flee in secret and deceive me and not tell me? I would have sent you off with joy and singing to the music of tambourines and lyres. 28 You didn’t even let me kiss my sons and daughters good-bye! What a stupid thing to do! 29 I have it in my power to do you harm; but the God of your father spoke to me last night and said, ‘Be careful that you don’t say anything to Ya‘akov, either good or bad.’ 30 Granted that you had to leave, because you longed so deeply for your father’s house; but why did you steal my gods?” 31 Ya‘akov answered Lavan, “Because I was afraid. I said, ‘Suppose you take your daughters away from me by force?’ 32 But if you find your gods with someone, that person will not remain alive. So with our kinsmen to witness, if you spot anything that I have which belongs to you, take it back.” Ya‘akov did not know that Rachel had stolen them. 33 Lavan went into Ya‘akov’s tent, then into Le’ah’s tent and into the tent of the two slave-girls; but he did not find them. He left Le’ah’s tent and entered Rachel’s tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken the household gods, put them in the saddle of the camel and was sitting on them. Lavan felt all around the tent but did not find them. 35 She said to her father, “Please don’t be angry that I’m not getting up in your presence, but it’s the time of my period.” So he searched, but he didn’t find the household gods.
36 Then Ya‘akov became angry and started arguing with Lavan. “What have I done wrong?” he demanded. “What is my offense, that you have come after me in hot pursuit? 37 You have felt around in all my stuff, but what have you found of all your household goods? Put it here, in front of my kinsmen and yours, so that they can render judgment between the two of us! 38 I have been with you for these twenty years! Your female sheep and goats haven’t aborted their young, and I haven’t eaten the male animals in your flocks. 39 If one of your flock was destroyed by a wild animal, I didn’t bring the carcass to you but bore the loss myself. You demanded that I compensate you for any animal stolen, whether by day or by night. 40 Here’s how it was for me: during the day thirst consumed me, and at night the cold — my sleep fled from my eyes. 41 These twenty years I’ve been in your house — I served you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flock; and you changed my wages ten times! 42 If the God of my father, the God of Avraham, the one whom Yitz’chak fears, had not been on my side, by now you would certainly have already sent me away with nothing! God has seen how distressed I’ve been and how hard I’ve worked, and last night he passed judgment in my favor.”
(vii) 43 Lavan answered Ya‘akov, “The daughters are mine, the children are mine, the flocks are mine, and everything you see is mine! But what can I do today about these daughters of mine or the children they have borne? 44 So now, come, let’s make a covenant, I and you; and let it stand as a testimony between me and you.” 45 Ya‘akov took a stone and set it upright as a standing-stone. 46 Then Ya‘akov said to his kinsmen, “Gather some stones”; and they took stones, made a pile of them and ate there by the pile of stones. 47 Lavan called it Y’gar-Sahaduta [“pile of witness” in Aramaic], while Ya‘akov called it Gal-‘Ed [“pile of witness” in Hebrew].
48 Lavan said, “This pile witnesses between me and you today.” This is why it is called Gal-‘Ed 49 and also HaMitzpah [the watchtower], because he said, “May Adonai watch between me and you when we are apart from each other. 50 If you cause pain to my daughters, or if you take wives in addition to my daughters, then, even if no one is there with us, still God is witness between me and you.” 51 Lavan also said to Ya‘akov, “Here is this pile, and here is this standing-stone, which I have set up between me and you. 52 May this pile be a witness, and may the standing-stone be a witness, that I will not pass beyond this pile to you, and you will not pass beyond this pile and this standing-stone to me, to cause harm. 53 May the God of Avraham and also the god of Nachor, the god of their father, judge between us.” But Ya‘akov swore by the One his father Yitz’chak feared. 54 Ya‘akov offered a sacrifice on the mountain and invited his kinsmen to the meal. They ate the food and spent the whole night on the mountain.
32 (Maftir) (31:55) Early in the morning Lavan got up, kissed his sons and daughters, and blessed them. Then Lavan left and returned to his own place. 2 (1) Ya‘akov went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 3 (2) When Ya‘akov saw them, he said, “This is God’s camp,” and called that place Machanayim [two camps].
Haftarah Vayetze: Hoshea (Hosea) 12:13(12)–14:10(9) (A); 11:7–12:12(11) (S)
B’rit Hadashah suggested reading for Parashah Vayetze: Yochanan (John) 1:43–51