And he arrived at the place and lodged there because the sun had set. Our Sages said (Chullin 91b) that this was Mount Moriah, as it says about it “…and he saw the place from afar.” (Bereshit 22:4) That place was called ‘the place’ without any specific name. Every place has an identifying name, derived from the name of its owner or its nature, but in this it was separate from all other places – the essence and name of this place was hidden as I explained above in the portion of Vayera (22:14). Therefore it is called simply ‘the place,’ because it has not yet received the name which will distinguish it from all other places.
Another reason why it is called simply ‘the place,’ is because this is the place of the world. This is both because the foundation stone, from which the world was founded, is located there, and that even now the whole world rests on it because from there the Divine abundance pours out to the world. Ya’akov sensed that this would be the place of the Holy Temple when he saw that the sun set upon him before its proper time, because this holy place dims the sphere of the sun and does not require the sun. On the contrary - the sun needs it, as the Sages taught ‘R’ Avin said, we find that one who wants to make windows makes them wide on the inside and narrow on the outside in order to draw in the light from outside. But the windows of the Holy Temple were wide on the outside and narrow within – why? In order that the light would go out from the Temple and illuminate the world, as it says “…and the earth shone from His glory,” (Yechezkiel 43:2) and it is written “As a Throne of Glory, exalted from the beginning, so is the place of our Sanctuary.” (Yirmiyahu 17:12) See the version of this midrash in Yalkut parshat Tetzaveh 378. This is a proof that the sun does not light the Holy Temple, therefore the light of the sun dimmed immediately upon reaching this holy place, “…and it shall come to pass that at eventide it shall be light,” (Zechariah 14:7) because Gd shined the supernal light from this holy place until He appeared to Yaakov in a vision that night.
There is another hint in what it says in the midrash Yalkut Shimoni 118, that the sun set two hours before its time. Why precisely two hours? There is a hint in this about the future, that so too will Israel’s sun set two years before its time. As Rashi explained in the Torah portion of Va'etchanan (Devarim 4:25) Gd brought the exile two years early, as its says “And the Lord hastened with the evil…” (Daniel 9:14) If this is so, then the Holy Temple which will be built in this place is destined to be destroyed two years before its sun has set. Therefore this hint came to Yaakov through the early setting of the sun, that there would be a sign in his hand that in the future the Holy Temple would be destroyed two years early. Therefore “…and he took some of the stones of the place and placed [them] at his head…” (Bereshit 28:11) They said in the midrash, brought by the Rama in Orach Chaim 555:2, that the pious and holy ones were accustomed to place a stone under their heads when they laid down on the night of Tisha B’Av. He said that they have a support from this verse “…and he took some of the stones…” because Yaakov saw the destruction. And who told the writer of this midrash that Yaakov saw the destruction? Certainly they learned this from the fact that the sun set two hours early, as I said.
and he took some of the stones of the place and placed them at his head - After it was known to him that this place would be the House of Gd which dims the sphere of the sun, therefor he took some of the stones of the place and set them as a guard to his head in order to show how he cherished their sanctity as it says “For Your servants desired its stones…” (Tehillim 102:15) He took twelve stones parallel to the twelve tribes as it says in the midrash (Bereshit Raba 68:11) that the stones argued, each one saying ‘let the righteous one rest his head on me!’ until they became one stone. This was a hint for the future as the writer of the Guide to the Perplexed wrote, that this is why the Holy One hid this place which would be the location of the Holy Temple and the King’s palace – in order that there not be argument between the tribes, each desiring that holy place to be theirs. Also for the sake of peace, as it says “But only to the place which the Lord your God shall choose from all your tribes…” (Devarim 12:5) And it is written “But only in the place the Lord will choose in one of your tribes…” (Devarim 12:14) How is this? When David purchased the threshing floor from Aravna the Yevusi, he collected the money from all of the tribes, as Rashi explains there (see Shmuel II 24:24). If this is so, then the argument between the stones which ended in their becoming one stone was sign for the future, that so too will be the argument between the crown jewels, the twelve tribes of Gd, that each tribe will say let the righteous One of the world rest His head upon me, referring to the Holy Temple as it says “As a Throne of Glory, exalted from the beginning, so is the place of our Sanctuary.” (Yirmiyahu 17:12) In the end they were made as one stone when David collected the gold from all of them. About this stone it is said regarding the building of the Second Temple “Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you sink to a plain! He will bring out the stone of the main architect, with shouts of grace, grace to it.” (Zechariah 4:7) When it says that He will bring out the stone of the main architect (even rosha) it means the stone which was at the head (rosh) of Yaakov. Bring it out to build the foundation for the Palace of Gd. Yaakov made a bed from it to lie upon in order that it be a sign that this will be 'the bed which is to Shlomo' (Song of Songs 3:7) – the king to whom peace belongs, as Rashi explained in Shir HaShirim on the verse “Behold the bed of Shlomo…”
וישכב במקום ההוא. משמע אבל קודם לכן לא שכב במטה כי לא רצה לעלות על ערש יצועיו עד אשר מצא מקום מטתו שלשלמה, וכן נדר דוד שנא' (תהלים קלב ב) אשר נשבע לה' נדר לאביר יעקב אם אעלה על ערש יצועי אם אתן שנת לעיני לעפעפי תנומה עד אמצא מקום לה' משכנות לאביר יעקב, הזכיר את יעקב תמיד כי גם הוא נדר נדר כזה כמו כן, מאומרו וישכב במקום ההוא אבל לא קודם לכן.