What did Yaakov mean when he concluded, "v'Hayah Hashem Li LE'lokim"?
Rashi: He meant that Hashem would be with him from beginning to end, in that all his children would be 'Kasher.' 1
Rashbam: That Hashem will help him in all that he does.
Ramban and Seforno: This is not part of Yaakov's conditions, but part of his undertaking - that if Hashem Kevayachol will carry out the above, he (Yaakov) will serve Him in Eretz Yisrael, in the location of this stone. 2
Tosfos ha'Shalem (11): If I will not fulfill my vow, I will turn Midas ha'Rachamim (Hashem) to Midas ha'Din (Elokim). 3
Moshav Zekenim: Hashem is considered Elokim for us only when we are in Eretz Yisrael (Tosefta Avodah Zarah 5:2).
Tosfos ha'Shalem (4, citing R. Yaakov of Vienna): When he returns, Hashem will be Elokim - as a traveler is exempt from many Mitzvos.
Tosfos ha'Shalem (7): Yaakov was unsure, when he returns, if he should bring Korbanos where Avraham did, or where Yitzchak did. He requested that Hashem inform him. The Targum alludes to this.
Tosfos ha'Shalem (8): He will be Zove'ach only l'Shem Hashem. 4
Bechor Shor: If Hashem will put His name on me, and make all know that He fulfilled His promises to me....
Ohr ha'Chayim: Hashem will put His name on me like he did on my fathers (Elokei Avraham, Elokei Yitzchak). And so it was - after "va'Yikra Lo Kel Elokei Yisrael" (33:20). After this, Yaakov fulfilled his vow.
Ha'amek Davar: If I will not serve Him with all my strength, I accept that Kel, 5 who is merciful, will be for me Elokim, and conduct with me with Midas ha'Din.
As Hashem had promised when He said to Avraham, "to be for you a G-d and for your children after you" (17:7).
In keeping with the Gemara, "If someone lives in Chutz la'Aretz, it is as if he does not have a G-d" (Kesuvos 110b).
It is not clear how the verse hints that this is if he will not fulfill. (PF) Seforno - It means, 'and may Hashem be my judge in this matter!'
Obviously, Yaakov would sacrifice only to Hashem! Perhaps it means that he will not slaughter Chulin, only Shelamim. (PF). Or, perhaps it means he would be careful while offering to have in mind only the Shem Havayah, and no other name or Midah of Hashem - See Ramban to Vayikra 1:9; also refer to Vayikra 10:1:1:3. (CS)
The Midrash (Shemos Rabah 5) says that one should say 'Lech l'Shalom,' and not 'Lech b'Shalom.' Why did Yaakov say 'b'Shalom'?
QUESTIONS ON RASHI
Rashi writes: "I shall return - As He said to me, 'I shall bring you back to this land' (28:15)." But in that verse, Hashem promised this even before saying, 'for I shall not abandon you' (which was a promise for bread - Rashi to 28:20). Why does Yaakov reverse the order?
Gur Aryeh #1: The promise to bring Yaakov back home includes the promise of bread, for surely he would not lack his needs at home! Thus, the phrase 'For I shall not abandon you' comes to give a reason; Hashem said, 'I will bring you home, because I care for all of your needs.' Yaakov, however, asked for bread first, as people usually start with smaller requests and only then proceed to greater ones.
Gur Aryeh #2: Hashem assured Yaakov of bread after promising to return Yaakov to his homeland, to include the time after Yaakov's eventual re-entry to Eretz Yisrael in the promise, i.e. that He would provide Yaakov's needs forever. Yaakov did not phrase it that way, or else that condition would never be completed, and he would never become obligated in his vow - which Yaakov intended to carry out.
Rashi writes that the previous Pasuk refers to the promises that Hashem made to Yaakov in his dream. What did Yaakov mean when he added "in peace" - "v'Shavti b'Shalom El Beis Avi"?
Rashi: He meant if he would return from Lavan without sin and not learn from his ways. 1
Seforno: That Hashem would save him from illnesses, which Chazal refer to as Ru'ach Ra'ah (see Eruvin 41b).
Ha'amek Davar: Hashem promised to return him, but he might return stricken and afflicted; and only to the land, but not to his father's house. So Yaakov added, "in peace."
Gur Aryeh: Why explain this way? It cannot be understood in the simplest sense, "in peace," for Hashem had already explicitly promised, "I am with you and I shall protect you" (28:15).
Rashi writes: "Wholesome... that I will not learn from Lavan's deeds." But Hashem had not promised him this! (According to Rashi, all of these requests are re-statements of what Hashem had promised him.)
Gur Aryeh: The promise, "I shall bring you back [to this land]" (28:15) means that Yaakov would return just as he was before, as if he had never left, i.e. free of any sinful influence. In the promise, "I shall bring you," Hashem is the active party, and He would fulfill this fully. Yaakov phrases this as, "I (Yaakov) will return;" 1 he therefore must add the modifying term, "in peace - i.e. wholesome."
Gur Aryeh: Why in fact did Yaakov word it this way? To mirror Hashem's promise, he should have said "and He will bring me back," attributing it to Hashem! a) This was a more respectful way to address Hashem; b) Hashem would initiate Yaakov's return, but it would be up to Yaakov to carry it through to its completion; and only then could he fulfill his vow.
Rashi writes: "And Hashem shall be for me a G-d - that His name shall rest upon me from beginning to end...." Why doesn't Rashi explain this in the simplest sense, as a vow to Hashem?
Mizrachi, Gur Aryeh: Surely Hashem would be Yaakov's G-d, unconditionally, even if the above promises would not be fulfilled! Rather, this phrase too is one of Yaakov's requests, that there be no one unworthy among his descendants.
Rashi writes that "v'Hayah Hashem Li LE'lokim" means that there will not be a Pesul in his children. Where is this hinted at? Also, when is this fulfilled; at which point must Yaakov fulfill his vow at this location?
Divrei David: A hint is from Hashem's promise [to Avraham], "Lihyos Lecha LE'lokim ul'Zar'acha" (17:7).