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    How many stones? – Vayyetzei

    On his way into exile, Jacob slept with his head on a stone in place of a pillow (Gen. 28:11).

    How many stones were there? Verse 18 says there was only one.

    Rashi explains on the basis of the Gemara (Chullin 9b) that the episode started off with a number of stones but then they quarrelled with each other, each one wanting Jacob to choose it to rest his head. So God stepped in and merged the stones, putting them together so that there was now only one stone. The story is an example of the Jewish aversion to squabbles and conflicts.

    Amongst the rabbinic commentators there is an additional view (also noted by Rashi) that the issue was not a substitute pillow but the problem of security; Jacob formed a ring of stones around his head to protect him from wild animals.

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