On the way to Aram, Jacob spent the night on Mount Moriah (known today as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem), and in his dream saw a vision of angels ascending and descending a ladder to heaven. When he awoke, realizing the intrinsic holiness of this site, he vowed that if G‑d would protect him, provide for him throughout his stay in Aram, and enable him to return both physically and spiritually unharmed, he would consecrate this place as the site of the future Temple.
Feeding and Clothing the Soul
וַיִּדַּר יַעֲקֹב נֶדֶר לֵאמֹר אִם יִהְיֶה אֱלֹקִים עִמָּדִי וּשְׁמָרַנִי בַּדֶּרֶךְ הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי הוֹלֵךְ וְנָתַן לִי לֶחֶם לֶאֱכֹל וּבֶגֶד לִלְבֹּשׁ: וְשַׁבְתִּי בְשָׁלוֹם אֶל בֵּית אָבִי וגו': (בראשית כח:כ–כא)
Jacob vowed, “If G‑d will be with me and protect me on this journey that I am undertaking, and will provide me with bread to eat and clothing to wear, returning me to my father’s house untainted.” Genesis 28:20-21

Bread and clothing refer allegorically to the study of the Torah and to the performance of G‑d’s commandments, respectively. When we study the Torah, G‑d’s wisdom becomes part of us, just as the food we eat becomes part of us. When we perform a commandment, we are enveloped by an external, transcendent feeling of inspiration, much as a garment surrounds and warms us.

In this context, “returning to my father’s house untainted” alludes to our return to the domain of holiness after venturing out temporarily into the mundane world in order to refine and elevate it to holiness.1