What exactly did Yaakov arrange with Lavan? What was Lavan supposed to remove from his flocks, and what would Yaakov continue to shepherd?
Rashi, Rashbam, Bechor Shor: Lavan was supposed to remove the sheep 1 and goats that contained spots or blotches, 2 as well as the sheep that were colored 'Chum;' 3 and Yaakov would shepherd the rest of his flocks.
Tosfos ha'Shalem (to 30:31 (3), citing Rashbam 4 ), Seforno: He was only supposed to remove the lambs and kids like he described, but to leave the grown-up sheep and goats, so that they should give birth to babies like themselves, which would belong to Yaakov. 5
Tosfos ha'Shalem (4, citing Chatzi Menasheh, citing Ri of Orleans): He should have removed only the males.
Ohr Zaru'a (1:769): Yaakov will take the animals with those appearances. 6 Yaakov's (oldest) sons will raise them, and Yaakov will tend Lavan's flock and take others born with those appearances.
On the neck and forehead (Rashbam).
This is not in our editions of Rashbam.
Why did Yaakov not ask to receive also the Chum (reddish-brown) goats?
Rashbam (to 30:33): Because most goats are Chum.
Ramban: It is not common for goats to be Chum.
Gur Aryeh: It is uncommon for sheep to be speckled and splotched, and uncommon for goats to be rouge-colored. Yaakov specified the more common variations.
Yaakov seems to tell Lavan to remove spotted and blotched sheep and goats (and also Chum-colored sheep). Verse 30:33 says that Yaakov requested as wages the spotted and blotched goats, but only the Chum-colored sheep!
Rashi (according to Mizrachi): "Kol Seh Nakod v'Talu" refers only to goats (he never said anything about spotted and blotched sheep). The word "Seh" can include sheep and goats - but here he specified only Chum among the sheep.
Why did Yaakov say that he himself will pass through the flock? Lavan should remove the animals with these appearances! And his words imply that the removed animals will be his wage, and not what is born afterwards!
Ohr Zaru'a (1:769), Malbim, Ha'amek Davar: Yaakov stipulated that his wage for the future will be what is spotted or blotched, and reddish-brown sheep, both what already is, 1 and what will be born. 2
Ha'amek Davar: This is why it says "Im Ta'aseh Li." If he receives only what will be born, Lavan is passive! A worker cannot demand to be paid in advance, nor to receive extra for working extra hard in the past. Yaakov said, if you want me to remain, you must accept my conditions.
Since all such animals will be Yaakov's, why did he need to separate now? Ohr Zaru'a says that it is so Yaakov's sons will tend them. Malbim implies that this will help show the Hashgachah, that until now there were few such animals, and from now and onwards many will be born. Or, it is lest Lavan remove such animals, and then according to nature, such animals will not be born later, Or, it is so Yaakov may do with his own flock as he desires. He would not have put peeled sticks in front of Lavan's flock had Lavan abided by the agreement. (PF)
What is the color Chum?
Rashi: It is reddish-brown.
Ibn Ezra, Radak: It is black. 1
Ha'amek Davar: It is red or black. This is uncommon for sheep. Shabbos 77b says that [Stam] goats are black, and sheep are white! 2
Ramban: This cannot be, for most sheep are black, especially in the hot eastern countries! But refer to 30:32:152:3 and the note there.
Shabbos 77b: Goats walk in front of the flock, before the sheep, like in Creation - darkness preceded light. (Clean sheep's wool is one of the white appearances of Tzara'as (Nega'im 1:1)! - PF)
Why does it say "Nakod v'Talu," and later "Talu v'Nakod"?
Ha'amek Davar (to 30:32,33): The former means that the animal is mostly spotted, but also has blotches. The latter means that the animal is mostly blotches, but also has white spots in some places. 30:33 says 'Nakod v'Talu' - whether it is primarily spotted or primarily blotched (both among sheep and goats).
Why did Yaakov agree to stay with Lavan? He was punished for all his time with Lavan (Rashi to 37:34)! And Yaakov was not interested in all the property that he amassed there, and gave it away (refer to 46:6:1:1)!
Ha'amek Davar: Refer to 30:25:152:2 and the note there.
QUESTIONS ON RASHI
Rashi writes: "The lambs and kids that will be born from now on, speckled etc., shall be mine." How does Rashi know that Yaakov would get only those born in the future?
Gur Aryeh: Lavan was to remove all the pre-existing ones in advance, to keep for himself.
Rashi writes: "... Furthermore, so that you (Lavan) will not claim that the speckled ones were born... only due to the paternity of the speckled males (which belong to you)." Why does Rashi add this reason?
Gur Aryeh: To prevent any dispute over whether a speckled goat was born before or after this arrangement, it would have sufficed to remove the young ones. (A mature animal would obviously pre-date the agreement, and belong to Lavan.) To refute the claim that Lavan's flock had fathered Yaakov's portion, it would suffice to remove the mature ones. In fact, Lavan removed all of the speckled and splotched specimens, both the young and the mature (30:35).
Rashi writes: "The speckled (Nakod) and splotched (Talu) among the goats, and the rouge-colored lambs, shall be mine." What is Rashi's opinion about any speckled and splotched lambs?
Gur Aryeh #1: According to Rashi, Yaakov meant that even the rouge-colored lambs would be his, 1 and certainly the speckled and splotched ones[which are more unusual among sheep].
Gur Aryeh #2 (to 30:40): Do not insert the word 'even' when interpreting the Pasuk. According to Rashi, the only sheep Yaakov would receive are the rouge-colored ones. 2