[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.
[S> 28:10 (148)] Yaakov leaves Be'er Sheva and goes to Haran.
SDT There are different explanations concerning the wording of this pasuk. As to why the Torah mentions Yaakov's departure (especially having mentioned it a couple of times at the end of Toldot), 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'er Sheva 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 (should) precedes Torah.
SDT This represents the "Changing of the Guard". Angels that accompanied 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. 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'YORDIMBO. 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.
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. This is notwithstanding the recommendation to avoid
taking vows. Tzedaka is another story (sort of).
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 - she runs off to tell her father. When Lavan hears, he runs 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.
When Yaakov confronts Lavan about the deceit, Lavan says that it is improper to marry off the younger before the older. (this is the minhag in many communities, despite the fact that its origin is Lavan.)
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 circumstances 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.
SDT Notice the rapid fashion the Torah employs to tell us of the build-up of
Yaakov's family. With Avraham and Yitzchak having such a difficult time
fathering children, Yaakov has fathered 10 sons in the span of 16 p'sukim!
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.
Rav Aryeh Kaplan z”l in The Living Torah, explains 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.
In the Hagada we read/say: VAYEIRED MITZ-RAI-MA (Yaakov went down into Egypt), and this is qualified by, ANOOS AL PI HADIBUR, usually translated as Forced by Divine Decree. There is another explanation offered: It was Yaakov's DIBUR, his statement that forced himself down into Egypt. How so? He inadvertently condemned Rachel to an early death by his words to Lavan. This can be construed as taking a life B'SHOGEIG. Punishment (and atonement) for that is EXILE. (Really, to a city of refuge, but for this "drash", exile to Egypt will do.) Not only does this explanation fit the DIBUR part, but it can also explain why the Hagada connects Yaakov's descent into Egypt with Lavan.
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.
Last 3 p'sukim are Maftir.
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, or something. 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.
This is only an example of a type of sin. Take talking in shul during davening. People who do it usually develop an attitude - hey, at least I'm davening. I come to shul. So this can't be that bad.
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.