[P> X:Y (Z)] and [S> X:Y (Z)] indicate start of a parsha p’tucha or s’tuma respectively. X:Y is Perek:Pasuk of the beginning of the parsha; (Z) is the number of p'sukim in the parsha.
SDT There are different explanations concerning the wording of this pasuk. As to why the Torah mentions Yaakov's departure, Rashi explains that a prominent person not only influences his surroundings, but his absence from a place is also felt, in a negative way. Therefore, the Torah not only tells us that Yaakov went to Haran; it also tells us that he left Be'er Sheva, and his absence was felt - even though Yitzchak (and Rivka) remained there.
(Perhaps, especially because Yitzchak and Rivka remained in Be’er Sheva - they would feel Yaakov’s absence the most!)
Another explanation - In leaving Be'er Sheva, Yaakov was fulfilling the wishes of his mother Rivka, who feared that Eisav would kill Yaakov if he remained. In going to Haran, Yaakov was fulfilling the wishes of his father, Yitzchak, who sent him there to find a suitable wife. The pasuk tells us of Yaakov's departure from Be'erSheva AND his journey to Haran, to show us that it was important to satisfy the wishes of BOTH his parents.
He encounters "The Place" (it is unidentified in the text, but is traditionally considered to be Har Moriah, the site of the Akeida, and the location of the future Beit HaMikdash) and stays the night. He dreams of a ladder with its feet planted in the ground and whose top reaches the heavens. Angels are ascending and descending the ladder.
SDT The S'fat Emet points out that the ladder in Yaakov's dream is described first as having its feet planted on the ground (representing worldliness and/or basic decency) and then its head reaching the heavens (representing spiritual pursuits). This is consistent with the famous maxim from Pirkei Avot - Derech Eretz Kodma laTorah, worldliness precedes Torah.
SDT This represents the "Changing of the Guard". Angels that accom- panied Yaakov in Eretz Yisrael are not the same as those outside Israel, just as Shabbat angels differ from those of weekdays. Our weekly counterpart to Yaakov's dream is the Friday night song, Shalom Aleichem, which refers to the changing of the angels. (Note that in Shalom Aleichem, we greet the Shabbat angels before saying farewell to the weekday angels. This gives us an overlap of angels rather than an angel-less gap. In Yaakov's dream, the angels are spoken of as ascending and descending, leaving a momentary gap. See next SDT)
SDT Commentaries point out that G-d was "standing watch" over Yaakov because there was a gap between the ascension of the angels and the descending of the new ones - OLIM (and then) V'YORDIM BO.
SDT A person should realize that wealth is not permanent; it can be lost as easily as it is gained. Therefore, if one is blessed with wealth, he should use it wisely, constructively, charitably. This idea is symbolized by the ladder, and the ups and downs that take place on it - the SULAM, with the angels OLIM V'YORDIM BO. SULAM (ladder) is numerically 60+6+30+ 40=136.
MAMON (money) is also 40+40+ 6+50=136. And so is ONI (poverty) 70+6+50+10=136.
More... KOL, voice (prayer) and TZOM, fasting are also equal to 136, perhaps
saying that prayer and petition of G-d can be effective in resulting in a
blessing of wealth rather than one's being poor.
Yaakov awakens from his sleep and acknowledges the sanctity of the place. When Yaakov awakens in the morning, he takes the stone (formerly referred to in the plural) that was at his head, and erects it as a monument which he then anoints. He names the place Beit El. Yaakov vows allegiance to G-d.
SDT Shulchan Aruch, based on Midrash, says that a person should/can take a vow or make a pledge to increase and enhance performance of mitzvot and giving of tzedaka during troubled times. The precedent for this is Yaakov's vows at this "low point" in his life.
SDT "And I will return to my father's home and HaShem will be for me G-d." The Ramban explains the connection between Yaakov's return home with his "acquisition of G-d". The Gemara in Ketuvot states that he who lives in Eretz Yisrael is like one who has G-d; he who lives outside Israel is like one without G-d. Yaakov's return from Lavan's house to his father's was a physical as well as spiritual Aliya - as is Aliya to Eretz Yisrael in our own time.
When they tell him that they work for Lavan, Yaakov asks about his well- being. The shepherds point out the approaching Rachel, daughter of Lavan. They explain to Yaakov that they must cooperate with each other in order to physically remove the stone from the well. Just then, Yaakov sees Rachel, his cousin, and approaches the rock and single-handedly removes it from the mouth of the well in order to give water to the sheep of his uncle. Yaakov kisses Rachel and weeps bitterly. (He weeps because he sees with Ru'ach HaKodesh that they are destined not to be buried together.)
Yaakov tells Rachel who he is - what their relationship is - and she runs off to tell her father. When Lavan hears, he runs out to welcome Yaakov, and brings him home to tell "the whole story". Lavan "offers" Yaakov a job and tells him "to name his price". Lavan had two daughters - Leah, the older one and Rachel, the younger one. Leah had "weak" (sensitive) eyes and Rachel was very beautiful.
Lavan gathers the locals for the festivities and substitutes Leah for Rachel.
Yaakov agrees to work an additional seven years for Rachel. Zilpa and Bilha are the handmaidens of Leah and Rachel respectively (commentaries say they too were daughters of Lavan, from a pilegesh). Yaakov showed his obviously greater love of Rachel. As a result, G-d made Leah fertile and Rachel barren.
Next the Torah tells us, in rapid succession, of the births of Reuven, Shimon, Levi, and Yehuda. Leah names each son (Levi was named by Yaakov or perhaps by an angel) with a name that expresses her thanks to G-d and her feelings under the unusual circum- stances of her life.
Rachel, jealous of Leah, complains to Yaakov that she has no children.
Yaakov gets angry with her, saying that it is G-d's doing, not his.
After Yosef is born, Yaakov asks his leave of Lavan. He desires to return to his fathers' home. He asks for his wives, children, and compensation for all the work he has done for Lavan. Lavan acknowledges that he has been blessed because of Yaakov.
Lavan's sons feel as if Yaakov has cheated their father.
G-d tells Yaakov to return to his birthplace. Yaakov calls to his wives and explains the situation to them. He tells them of being instructed by an angel as to what to do with the animals. Rachel and Leah feel as strangers in their father's house and are prepared to do as G-d commands.
When Yaakov vows to return to his father's house, he adds, "and HaShem will be G-d for me. Ramban says from here we learn that he who lives in Eretz Yisrael has G-d, and he who lives in Chutz LaAretz it is as if he has no G-d.
Rav Aryeh Kaplan z”l in The Living Torah, expains Terafim according to different opinions. Some say they were idols that were worshiped. This opinion adds that Rachel took them to save her father from the sin of idolatry. Others are of the opinion that they were meditative devices that would enable Lavan to divine the whereabouts of Yaakov. Thus Rachel’s motive was to prevent Lavan from pursuing Yaakov and family.
Yaakov answers in kind, expressing his anger at Lavan's repeated attempts to cheat him. As to the terafim, Yaakov permits Lavan to search for them and boldly declares that the one who took them shall not live. Lavan fails to find his terafim because Rachel convinces him not to search her person or belongings. Had it not been for G-d's protection, Yaakov tells Lavan, you would have left me with nothing.
KI VARACH... The Midrash, based on the same phrase being used, says that it was Amalek who told Lavan that Yaakov fled, and later told Par'o that Bnei Yisrael did so too.
Yaakov continues on his journey and encounters angels (of Eretz Yisrael - the sedra thus comes full circle) on the way, Yaakov names the place Machanayim.
The last 3 p'sukim are reread for the Maftir.
Some suggest concluding the haftara with Yoel 2:26-27, in order to end the haftara on a better note than Hoshea ends with.
This concluding portion of the book(let) of Hoshea begins with reference to Yaakov's journey to Aram to find (and work on behalf of) a wife (wives) - hence its obvious connection to the sedra. The prophet points out to the People of Israel their humble origins, in an attempt to put things in perspective and restore their faith and reliance upon G-d. The haftara contains SHUVA YISRAEL from haftarat Shabbat Shuva.
The last pasuk in Hoshea states: Whoever is wise, let him understand this...
The ways of G-d are straight, and the righteous will walk on them and the
wicked will stumble. The Gemara explains this pasuk with the example of two
people who eat Korban Pesach, one eats it AL HA'SOVA, while satisfied but not
stuffed, and the other eats K.P.but he is full from his Seder meal. Amazing
that the Gemara illustrates this pasuk with two people, both of whom fulfill
mitzvot. The POSHEI'A is mitzva- observant! He buys a lamb, brings it as a K.P.,
roasts it properly - everything. Except the one little detail of AL HA'SOVA.
And that brands him a sinner. There is a message in the Gemara's choice of
example. A person who doesn't keep mitzvot usually knows he's not doing the
right thing, but doesn't care. Let's call him a "gross poshei'a". The one
referred to in the Gemara is the "subtle sinner". Seems so insignificant.
Especially compared with others. But the proper way to eat K.P. requires the
additional effort throughout the Seder meal to control one’s appetite. This
additional Mussar- message cannot be overlooked.
By choosing these examples to illustrate those who walk upright on G-d's path and those who stumble, we are to understand that a "regular" sinner will obviously stumble on the G-d's path. But the message is more subtle than that. Even a person engrossed in Torah and Mitzvot will occasionally stumble. Food for thought. Particularly appropriate in light of the Haftara's speaking about T'shuva.