Last week’s parshah ended with Jacob running away from Beer Sheva where he lived with his parents and brother to Charan. On his way out of Israel Jacob stops to rest, he takes a number of stones and puts them in a semi-circle around his head as protection and goes to sleep. He dreams of a ladder on which he sees angels going up and other angels going down the ladder, these were the angels which G‑d sent to protect him on his trip. G‑d reveals Himself to Jacob and promises him that the land on which he is resting will be given to his descendants, his children and grandchildren and their grandchildren. When Jacob wakes up the stones had become one, he takes the stone and makes it into an altar as a sign that that place is a holy place.

Jacob arrives in Charan where he meets his cousin Rachel at a well; Rachel runs home to tell her father Laban that Jacob is in town, Jacob is welcomed by his uncle and begins to work for him as a shepherd. After a month Laban offers to pay him and Jacob says that his payment will be that he can marry Rachel. Laban says he can marry Rachel after working for him for seven years. But…when the wedding day finally comes, Laban deceives Jacob, and gives him his older daughter Leah in marriage. Jacob doesn’t realize this until the morning after the wedding, and is very angry at Laban. Laban says that in his country one doesn’t marry off the younger sister before the older one. (but off course he didn’t tell that to Jacob before the wedding…). Jacob agrees to work another seven years for Laban and marries Rachel a week after his wedding to Leah, at the time one could marry more than one wife at a time.

Leah gives birth to seven children, Reuben, Shimon, Levi, Yehudah, Yissachar, Zebulun and Dina, a daughter. Rachel did not have children and was very sad because of that. She gave her maid Bilhah as a wife to Jacob so that she should have children instead of her. Bilhah has two sons, Dan and Naphtali. Leah also gives her maid Zilpah as a wife to Jacob and she too has two sons, Gad and Asher. Finally Rachel gets pregnant and has a son, Joseph.

Fourteen years have passed since Jacob left his parents’ home and he wants to return to Beer Sheva. However Laban convinces him to stay, he offers to pay him by giving him sheep so that Jacob can have a flock of his own. G‑d blesses Jacob with his work, his flock becomes bigger and bigger, and Laban keeps on trying to cheat him out of his property. Another six years pass, when Laban goes away for a few days Jacob packs up his bags and together with his wives and children leaves Charan. When Laban finds out that Jacob left he runs after him, but G‑d warns Laban not to hurt Jacob and so they make a peace pact at a place called Mount Gal-Ed and Jacob and his family travel back to the Holy Land and angels of G‑d meet him there to accompany him back into the land.