Why does the Torah say that Yakov arrived "ba'Makom"? It did not say which place it is!
Rashi: Because the Torah writes "ba'Makom" (with a Patach) - the place, without specifying, it must be referring to a location that has been mentioned before - namely, Har ha'Moriyah 1 , about which it wrote in Bereishis (22:4) "va'Yar Es ha'Makom me'Rachok".
Tosfos ha'Shalem (9): "Makom" refers to Hashem, who is the place of the world.
Ohr ha'Chayim: The simple meaning is, a settled place. Later (verse 19) it is called a city.
Why does the Torah use the unusual word "va'Yifga", rather than 'va'Yavo'?
Rashi #1 and Targum Yonasan: To inform us that he prayed there. 1
Ramban: Because when he left Charan to return to Har ha'Moriyah, he had Kefitzas ha'Derech and arrived there on the same day. 4
Rashbam and Seforno: Because he was actually on his way to Charan, and it was only 'by chance' that he happened to arrive at this spot (not Har ha'Moriyah), a location outside Luz, 5 where he was forced to stop, since he was not able to reach Luz before sunset. 6
Ohr ha'Chayim: It hints that he needed to pray
Da'as Zekenim: It seems that he prayed Ma'ariv before sunset. However, the Gemara (Brachos 2a) connotes that Kri'as Shma is after Tzeis ha'Kochavim! (His question assumes that Tefilah is after Keri'as Shma, like R. Yochanan (Brachos 4b), in order to Somech Ge'ulah li'Tefilah.) Refer also to 28:10:3:2.
Which is the literal translation of "va'Yifga".
Like the Kefitzas ha'Derech of Eliezer (Refer to 24:42:1:1) and that of Avishai ben Tzeruyah (brother of Yo'av).
According to the Seforno, it was an inn where he could break his journey.
Since one should arrive in town before sunset and leave town after sunrise, as the Gemara says in Pesachim, 2a.
Why does the Torah write "he stayed there overnight because the sun set", and not simply 'the sun set and he stayed there overnight'?
Rashi: The Pasuk implies that the sun set before its time in order that Yakov should stay there overnight. 1
Malbim: He was afraid to go to a city at night. This shows that he lacked a spirit of Gevurah. 2
Ha'Emek Davar: This shows that only lying down was at night, but he arrived there and prayed Ma'ariv during the day, like Tosfos (Brachos 26b DH Yakov).
How many stones did he take?
Rashbam: One, as the Torah writes in Pasuk 18.
According to Rashi, there were an unspecified number. 1
Targum Yonasan: He took four stones (corresponding to the four wives that he was destined to marry).
Ramban (Pasuk 17): He took twelve stones, corresponding to the number of children he was destined to have.
Divrei Eliyahu, Kol Eliyahu: We read "me'Avnei ha'Makom" like 'Avnei meha'Makom' (just like we expound "mi'Dam ha'Par..."), so we cannot say that there was only one.
What was the significance of the stones?
Rashbam, Targum Onkelus: It served him as a cushion on which to rest his head as he slept.
Seforno: The stones were placed there for guests to sit on and to use as tables. 3
Malbim: This shows that he did not have a pillow or blanket
Tosfos ha'Shalem (27): One suffices for a cushion, so we must say that the rest were for protection.
Having no choice, he did what he could and relied on Hashem to do the rest.
Why does it say "va'Yishkav ba'Makom ha'Hu"?
R. Nechemyah, in Bereishis Rabah (68:11): The 20 years that he was in Beis Lavan, he did not lie down.
Malbim: He did not engage in Torah first. 3
Ohr ha'Chayim: This teaches that lying down did not cause the dream [with the prophecy], rather, the Kedushah "ba'Makom ha'Hu."
Ohr ha'Chayim (based on Chulin 91b): This teaches that Hashem folded up all of Eretz Yisrael under him; he lied in the entire place.
Shem was no longer alive.
He was so absorbed in his learning, that he would sleep in a sitting position. Mishnas R. Aharon 1 p.220 - he learned so constantly to protect him from the influence of Lavan.
Malbim: One condition for [totally clear] prophecy is that the Navi is Chacham, i.e. he prepared himself for investigating spiritual matters. (Even if he spent 14 years learning with awesome diligence in Beis Ever, perhaps while traveling he was distracted with worry about the influence of Lavan, and this interrupted.
QUESTIONS ON RASHI
Rashi writes that "va'Yifga ba'Makom" means that Yakov prayed there. Why does the Torah not write 'va'Yispalel'?
Rashi: To teach us that the land 'jumped' for him (Kefitzas ha'Derech). 1
In other words, the Beis-ha-Mikdash came towards him and met him in Beis-El (the location of the top of the ladder, where he prayed), as he was returning from Charan.
Rashi writes that Yakov had Kefitzas ha'Derech. What exactly happened?
Rashi: Refer to 28:17:2:1.
Ramban #1: When Yakov decided to return to Har ha'Moriyah, he arrived there on the same day.
Ramban #2: When he set out from Be'er-Sheva to go to Charan, he arrived in Charan on the same day.
Ramban #3: It is possible that he had Kefitzas ha'Derech on all his travels - from Be'er-Sheva to Charan, from Charan to Har ha'Moriyah and from Har ha'Moriyah to Charan.
Riva (verse 19): He wanted to return to Beis Kel, where Avraham had prayed. He returned immediately, and also Har ha'Moriyah jumped to there.
Rashi writes that Yakov took more than one stone. Why does the Torah write in Pasuk 18, that he "took the stone ..."?
Hadar Zekenim: Yakov was worried, for his father and grandfather each had an evil son, even though they had only one or two wives, and he will have four! The stones became one, to hint to him that his bed will be complete (all his children will be Tzadikim).
Tosfos ha'Shalem (15, citing R. Efrayim): The stones became one, to hint that Bnei Yisrael will become 'Goy Echad ba'Aretz" (Yechezkel 37:22).
Tosfos ha'Shalem (20): Do stones receive reward, that they should argue about this?! Rather, Hashem hinted to him that there will be quarrels among his four wives.
Mesilas Yesharim Perek 1: The entire world was created to serve man. It is a great elevation for all creations to serve an ideal person sanctified with Hashem's Kedushah.