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Rashi comments on the posuk in Bereishis 28:10 - “And Ya’akov went out from Be’er Sheva and went to Haran” - that the phrase “went to Haran” means that he left to go to Haran.

Rashi seems to be implying that he set out with the intention of going straight to Haran, and only afterwards did he change his mind and decide to go to the Yeshiva of Shem and Ever.

How does Rashi know that this is the correct explanation of the posuk?

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The sefer Asifas HaKohen here says:

It seems to me that Rashi learned this from the gemora in Kiddushin 29b where there seems to be a dispute about whether a man should first learn Torah and then get married, or first get married and then learn Torah. The gemora concludes that there is no dispute in the matter, but rather the first way applies to those who live in Eretz Yisroel where earning a livelihood is easy and so being married will not interfere with a person’s ability to learn, and the second way applies to those who live in Bavel where earning a livelihood is hard, and therefore it is better to first go to learn before he has a millstone around his neck.

Now, when Ya’akov left Be’er Sheva he was very wealthy and could easily support a family. Therefore he was obligated to get married first. But later when Eliphaz took all of his money as Rashi explains in Bereishis 29:11, he no longer had a means of livelihood, and thus became obligated to go and learn Torah first.

This is why Rashi explains here that the posuk means that he set out to go to Haran, because initially he intended to go straight to Haran to get married, but on the way he suddenly became unable to first get married, and so he went first to the yeshiva of Shem and Ever.

Translation taken from here.

  • +1 However see Maharsha in Megila 17a. The yeshiva of Ever was in Be'er Sheva, and the passuk of Vayeitzei was after the 14 years. – user6591 Nov 23 '14 at 15:33
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According to Siftei Chachamim there (#7), that's not what Rashi meant.

דק״ל וילך חרגה משמע שבא לחרן וזה א״א שהרי אח״כ כתיב ויפגע במקום וזה היה קודם ביאתו לחרן ודוחק לומר שיהיה וילך כמשמעו שבא לחרן ואח״כ שב לבאר מה שפגע לו בדרך כי אין זה דרך המקרא לכן פירש יצא ללכת

[Rashi commented] because it is difficult to understand "and he went to Charan," which implies that he'd come to Charan. But that is impossible, for afterward it's written "And he encountered the place," and this was before his coming to Charan. And it would be forced to answer that "And he went" is like it sounds - that he came to Charan, and that afterward, [the Scripture] returns to describe what he encountered on the way, since that's not the Scripture's way. Therefore, [Rashi] explained "He departed to go [to Charan]."

(my translation)

It sounds to me like Rashi's saying simply that Ya'akov departed to go on a trip to Charan, and then he had the nighttime ladder experience on the way.

  • 1
    שבעים פנים לתורה – user4523 Nov 26 '14 at 14:47

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