Parashat Vayetze

Jacob flees to his uncle Laban's household and lives there for several years, marrying Laban's daughters, Leah and Rachel, and building a large family.

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The following article is reprinted with permission from Jewish Family & Life!

On his way to his uncle Laban's, Jacob dreams of a ladder that stretches up from earth to heaven. There are angels of God ascending and descending the ladder.

God stands behind Jacob and says, "I am God, the God of your father Abraham and the God of your father Isaac. I will give to you and your seed the land where you are sleeping. And your seed will be as dust of the earth and spread in all directions, and through you will all the families on earth be blessed. I am with you and will guard you. I will not leave you until I have accomplished what I have promised."

Jacob & Rachel Meet

Jacob awoke from his sleep, saying, "Truly, God is in this place and I did not know it. This is a house of God. This is a gate of heaven."

The next morning, Jacob anointed a memorial stone with oil and named the place Beth El. Then Jacob made a vow, "If God will be with me and will keep me on this path and give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, and I will return in peace to the house of my father, then God shall be God to me. And this memorial stone shall be a house of God, and all that God will give to me, I will tithe to God repeatedly.”

Jacob continued his journey. He saw a well in the field and three flocks of sheep lying there. There was a rock that was to be moved from the well in order to access the water. Jacob said to the men gathered there, "Do you know Laban?"

"Yes," they answered. "He is well and his daughter, Rachel, the shepherdess, will soon be coming with her sheep."

Soon, Rachel did come with her father's sheep. When Jacob saw Rachel, he caused the rock to roll from the mouth of the well in order to water the sheep. Jacob kissed Rachel, then wept. Thereupon Jacob told Rachel that he was her kinsman, and she ran and told her father. Jacob ended up staying with Laban for a month.

Laban & Jacob Make a Deal

Then Laban said to Jacob, “Even if you are my kinsman, should you serve me without compensation? What shall your wages be?”

Now, Laban had two daughters. The older daughter was Leah and the younger daughter was Rachel. Jacob loved Rachel and said to Laban, "I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter, Rachel." Laban agreed. So Jacob served for Rachel seven years, but they were only a few days in his eyes because of his love for her. And Jacob said to Laban, "My working days are complete. Give me my wife."

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Nancy Reuben Greenfield

Nancy Reuben Greenfield has written three adaptations of the Torah, including an
interactive family version at, and an engaging
Jewish immigrant novel, The Golden Medina, available on itunes and Amazon.