OU Press

Parshat Vayeitzei – Rabbi Goldin

November 11, 2010

Yaakov’s Second Dream

by Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, author of Unlocking the Torah Text


Hidden in the shadow of Yaakov’s dramatic dream at Beit E-l is a second dream, experienced by the patriarch and recorded in Parshat Vayeitzei.

Unlike the first, this second dream is not recorded directly as it occurs. We learn about it only secondhand when, at the end of twenty years in the house of Lavan, Yaakov tells Rachel and Leah that the time has come to return to Canaan. In the course of the discussion the patriarch says:

“And it was at the time of the mating of the flock that I raised my eyes and saw in a dream: And behold all of the goats mounting the flocks were ringed, speckled and checkered. And an Angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘…Lift up your eyes and see that all the goats mounting the flocks are ringed, speckled and checkered; for I have seen all that Lavan is doing to you. I am the God of Beit E-l where you anointed a pillar and where you made me a vow; now arise, leave this land and return to the land of your birth.’”


Yaakov’s vision of sheep clearly relates to the financial agreements which he had made with Lavan and to Lavan’s attempts to undermine those agreements. At the beginning of his last six years in his father-in-law’s house, Yaakov arranged that his payment would consist of any unusually marked or colored animals born to the flocks under his care. Lavan attempted to manipulate the flocks to minimize the birth of such animals.

What, however, is the relationship between the symbolism and substance of this second dream? There seems to be no clear connection between Yaakov’s vision of sheep and the divine commandment to return to his homeland.

Why, in addition, does the angel in the dream refer to himself as the emissary of the “God of Beit E-l,” and why does he makes specific reference to Yaakov’s vow?

Continued here: link

Adapted from one of the multiple essays on this parsha in Unlocking the Torah Text by Rabbi Shmuel Goldin.