On Yaakov’s journey to Charan, he fell asleep and dreamt of a ladder resting on the ground and reaching up to heaven, with angels ascending and descending. God is at the top of the ladder, telling Yaakov that he will inherit the Land and have plentiful offspring. Yaakov woke up, having realised the holiness of the place, where the Temple would later be built. He built an altar and took a vow committing to serve God fully.

Yaakov travelled eastwards. He saw a well in a field, covered by a large stone. The local shepherds tell Yaakov that the daughter of his uncle Lavan is approaching. Yaakov moved the boulder blocking the well and waters Rachel’s flock. He kisses Rachel and weeps.

Yaakov wanted to marry Rachel, and offered to work for Lavan for seven years as payment. Although Lavan agreed, when the time comes, he tricked Yaakov, swapping Rachel for her older sister Leah. Lavan defended his actions and agreed to let Yaakov marry Rachel a week later, if he works for another seven years.

Leah, unlike Rachel, is blessed with children: Reuven, Shimon, Levi and Yehuda. Rachel gave Yaakov her maidservant Bilhah to conceive ‘on her behalf’. Bilhah gave birth to Dan and Naftali. Leah then gave Yaakov her maidservant Zilpah, who gave birth to Gad and Asher.

Leah conceived again and has a fifth son, Yissachar. This is followed by a sixth, Zevulun. She then had a daughter, Dinah. Rachel finally had a child, Yosef.

Yaakov demanded that Lavan let him return home after all his years of work. Lavan asked Yaakov to stay on and to specify his payment. Yaakov replied that he will keep the plain-looking animals currently in the flock, and any offspring born to them with unusual-patterned skin. Yaakov became very prosperous. Lavan’s sons accused Yaakov of theft. God told Yaakov to return to Cana’an immediately. Rachel and Leah agreed to leave.

Yaakov’s entire family leaves. Lavan found out three days later and chased after Yaakov, catching up with him at Mount Gilad. God appeared to Lavan in a dream, telling him not to harm Yaakov. Lavan criticised Yaakov for fleeing and for stealing his idols. Yaakov denies the latter charge, unaware that Rachel was hiding them. Yaakov also defended his record in Lavan’s house, where he worked tirelessly, despite Lavan’s trickery.

Lavan proposed a peace treaty, which Yaakov agreed to, symbolised by a stone monument built by Yaakov’s sons. Lavan and Yaakov part ways.

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