Bereishit/Genesis JPS 28:17 And he was frightened, and he said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." Bereishit/Genesis 28:17 יזוַיִּירָא֙ וַיֹּאמַ֔ר מַה־נּוֹרָ֖א הַמָּק֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה אֵ֣ין זֶ֗ה כִּ֚י אִם־בֵּ֣ית אֱלֹהִ֔ים וְזֶ֖ה שַׁ֥עַר הַשָּׁמָֽיִם:
Personally, I find Rashi's explanation defies my threshold of credulity:
than the house of God: Said Rabbi Eleazar in the name of Rabbi Jose ben Zimra: This ladder stood in Beer-sheba and the middle of its incline reached opposite the Temple, for Beer-sheba is situated in the south of Judah, and Jerusalem [is situated] in its north, on the boundary between Judah and Benjamin, and Beth-el was in the north of the territory of Benjamin, on the boundary between Benjamin and the sons of Joseph. Consequently, a ladder whose foot is in Beer-sheba and whose top is in Beth-el-the middle of its slant is opposite Jerusalem. This accords with what our Sages said, that the Holy One, blessed be He, said, “This righteous man has come to My lodging place [i.e., the Temple Mount]. Shall he leave without lodging?” And furthermore, they said: Jacob called Jerusalem Beth-el. But this place [which he called Beth-el] was Luz, and not Jerusalem. So, from where did they learn to say this? [i.e., that Luz was Jerusalem.] I believe that Mount Moriah was uprooted from its place, and it came here, [to Luz, i.e., at that time, Luz, Jerusalem and Beth-el were all in the same place], and this is the “springing of the earth” mentioned in Tractate Chullin, i.e., that the [site of the] Temple came towards him until Beth-el. This is the meaning of ויפגע במקום “And he met the place.” Now if you ask, “When Jacob passed by the Temple, why did He not detain him there?” [The answer is:] If he did not put his mind to pray in the place where his forefathers had prayed, should they detain him from heaven? He went as far as Haran, as it is stated in the chapter entitled, “Gid HaNasheh” (Hullin 91b), and the text, “and he went to Haran” (verse 10) supports this. When he arrived in Haran, he said, “Is it possible that I have passed the place where my forefathers prayed, and I did not pray there?” He decided to return, and he went back as far as Beth-El, and the earth “sprang toward him.” [This Beth-El is not the one near Ai, but the one near Jerusalem, and because it was the city of God, he called it Beth-El, the house of God, and that is Mount Moriah where Abraham prayed, and that is the field where Isaac prayed, and so did they say in Sotah (sic.) (Pes.88a) [concerning the verse] (Micah 4:2):“Come, let us go up to the Mount of the Lord, to the House of God of Jacob.” [It is] not [called] as did Abraham, who called it a mountain, and not as did Isaac, who called it a field, but as did Jacob, who called it the House of God. An exact edition of Rashi...
- Update, to address concerns raised in the comments:
- Is it evident that Gen. 28:17 is referring to Bethel?
My presumption that the place where Jacob had his dream vision, erected his pillar of stone, anointed it and made his vow came to be known from that time forward as Beth-El is in the same passage:
Benesis/Bereishit 28:19 And he named the place Beth El, but Luz was originally the name of the city.
- Is it evident that Bethel and Jerusalem are not the same?
It seems evident from the history making account of Jeroboam's sin in erecting a unsanctioned temples in Dan and Bethel that Bethel was not Jerusalem.
- What suggests that the temples should have been built in the place to which Jacob, in Genesis 28:17, referred?
I infer this from Jacob's declaration upon awakening from his dream vision:
JPS Genesis 28: 16And Jacob awakened from his sleep, and he said, "Indeed, the Lord is in this place, and I did not know [it]." 17And he was frightened, and he said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." 18And Jacob arose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had placed at his head, and he set it up as a monument, and he poured oil on top of it. 19And he named the place Beth El, but Luz was orignally the name of the city. 20And Jacob uttered a vow, saying, "If God will be with me, and He will guard me on this way, upon which I am going, and He will give me bread to eat and a garment to wear; 21And if I return in peace to my father's house, and the Lord will be my God; 22Then this stone, which I have placed as a monument, shall be a house of God, and everything that You give me, I will surely tithe to You.