Rebecca Sends Jacob to Haran

During Jacob’s absence, Esau’s hatred had died down. But as soon as Jacob returned from Eber, his old grudge flared up, and day and night he brooded over a scheme to kill Jacob. Yet, he feared his father too much to cause him such grief, and he decided to postpone his revenge until after Isaac’s death.

But Rebecca observed Esau and understood that his gloomy scheming boded ill for Jacob. She, therefore, spoke to Isaac and asked him to send Jacob to her brother Laban in Haran for some time, to seek out a wife for himself from Laban’s daughters, Jacob’s cousins. Isaac readily consented, recommended his son to take a wife from the daughters of Laban, and dismissed him with a fervent and affectionate benediction: “And may G‑d the Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest inherit the land of thy sojourn, which G‑d gave to Abraham.”

Jacob and Eliphaz

With his father’s blessings still ringing in his ears, Jacob left Beer Sheba, and proceeded on his way to his uncle Laban in Padan Aram. Esau soon found out that his brother had left the house. He immediately sent his oldest son Eliphaz with ten armed men to pursue and kill Jacob. But Eliphaz, instead of murdering his uncle, agreed to take all Jacob’s possessions, and let Jacob continue on his way.

Jacob’s Dream

The day waned, and night found the wanderer in an open field before the town of Luz, still within the territory of Canaan. Weary from his journey, he took stones for his pillow and lay down to rest, with the earth for his couch, and the bright starlit heavens for his canopy, he fell asleep. And in his rest he was favored by a marvelous dream. A vast ladder seemed to rise beside him, the foot of which rested upon the earth, and the top of which reached to heaven. Up and down this ladder ascended and descended the angels of G‑d. From above came the voice of G‑d, as it had come to Abraham and Isaac, promising him strength: “I am the L-rd, the G‑d of Abraham your father, and the G‑d of Isaac; the land upon which you are lying to you I will give it and to your seed. And your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall gain strength westward and eastward and northward and southward; and through you shall be blessed all the families of the earth and through your seed. And behold, I am with you, and I will guard you wherever you go, and I will restore you to this land, for I will not forsake you until I have done what I have spoken concerning you.”

When Jacob awoke out of his sleep, he exclaimed, “Indeed, the Lord is in this place, and I did not know [it].”; and he was afraid, and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

Jacob’s Vow

Jacob rose early in the morning. He took the stone that had served him as a pillow and set it up in memory of this holy vision, and called the place-”Beth-El,” the house of G‑d. Then he made a vow that if G‑d would be with him and return him safely to his father’s house, he would erect a house of G‑d where he had set up the stone, and that he would give a tenth of everything he owned to G‑d.