Do any commentaries mention a reason for the plural "stones" in Gen. 28:11 and the singular "stone" in Gen. 28:18?

In Gen. 28:11, it says that Ya'akov took "of the stones" (מֵאַבְנֵי) and put them for his pillows, while in Gen. 28:18 it says that he took the "stone" (הָאֶבֶן) that he put for his pillows.

Is there any significance to this change in number?


Rashi explains (translation from chabad.org) based on the Gemora in Chullin:

He arranged them in the form of a drainpipe around his head because he feared the wild beasts. They [the stones] started quarreling with one another. One said, “Let the righteous man lay his head on me,” and another one said, “Let him lay [his head] on me.” Immediately, the Holy One, blessed be He, made them into one stone. This is why it is stated (verse 18):“and he took the stone [in the singular] that he had placed at his head.” [From Chullin 91b]

However, others (Ibin Ezra, Radak, Ralbag, Zohar Chadosh 27b and see Tosfos to Chullin 91b) note that there is no contradiction at all. 28:11 states "מאבני" - "of the stones" and not "אבני" - "stones", and could therefore be explained that he took one of the stones that were there.

  • Ah yes, good point in your edit. Quick question, where did you find Radak's meforash on Bereshit, or even the Torah? This site only begins at Yehoshu'a: daat.ac.il/he-il/tanach/parshanut_hamikra/full-text/radak. Thanks. – user2088 Jan 16 '13 at 0:01
  • @H3br3wHamm3r81 The Radak is quoted in Torah Shleima (footnote 60). It's probably somewhere on hebrewbooks.org, if I have time I will try link to it. – Michoel Jan 16 '13 at 0:21
  • hebrewbooks.org/40230 – b a Jan 16 '13 at 1:23
  • @H3br3wHamm3r81 Torath Hyim by Mosad HaRav Kook has RaDa"K's commentary on the Torah. – Seth J Jan 16 '13 at 1:57

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