What is the significance of the three-day distance that Lavan placed between his flocks and those of Yaakov?
Oznayim la'Torah: To make sure that not even one spotted or speckled lamb or goat should stray into Yaakov's flock. 1
Maharal (Netzach Yisrael, beg. Ch. 26, p. 130): A three-day's journey is defined as "Rachok," distant. 2
What does the Torah mean when it writes that Yaakov looked after Lavan's sheep, "ha'Nosaros"?
Rashi: It seems that, in spite of all the specified conditions, when it came to the crunch, Lavan handed Yaakov only the weak sheep, those that were sick and barren. 1
How is this derived? Refer to 30:36:2.1. (This, and the other tricks employed by Lavan to prevent Yaakov from making any gains at all, prompted Yaakov to find unconventional methods for his sheep to proliferate, and justified his employing them. - EC) Refer to 30:37:1. See also Sifsei Chachamim to 30:39).
QUESTIONS ON RASHI
Rashi writes: "Ha'Nosaros (the remainder) - The worst of them." Why does he expound this way?
Gur Aryeh #1: Otherwise, the word "Nosaros" would be unnecessary.
Gur Aryeh #2; Ha'amek Davar: The verse could have written 'ha'Nish'aros.' 1 It writes "Nosaros," which implies 'extra, leftover, expendable.'
Ha'amek Davar: Normally, 'Nosar' is what remains without intent, and 'Nish'ar' is through intent. In this verse it says Nosaros, to expound that they were inferior.
Rashi writes: "He gave to Yaakov the worst of [his flock]; the sick and the barren." Although Lavan was an evil swindler, why wasn't he concerned that Yaakov would back out of the arrangement; seeing as Lavan violated the terms, removing all of the high-quality animals from the flock, irrespective of their pattern?
Gur Aryeh: Lavan wanted to remove all of the high-quality animals from the flock that Yaakov would be entrusted (and from which Yaakov hoped to take his wage). Lavan would take each good animal and start searching for two or three white hairs, and then claim it, on the grounds that it was speckled. 1 He thus whittled down Yaakov's charge until only the sickly were left. 2
Gur Aryeh: We learn this from the preceding verse; Lavan removed "any that had any white in it" (30:35 - refer to 30:35:3.2). This despite that 'speckled' usually means many such markings; and despite that two or three hairs would be most unlikely to be passed down to the offspring such that it would belong to Yaakov.
Those animals, Lavan did not bother to check so carefully. (EK)