On his deathbed, Jacob has this to say regarding Simeon and Levi:
“Cursed is their wrath so fierce,
and their fury so harsh!
I will disperse them in Jacob,
scatter them in Israel.” — Genesis/Breishit 49:7
How could Jacob have “blessed” Simeon and Levi, given the harsh words he directed toward them (49:5-7)? One interpreter of this verse suggests that Jacob’s rebuke of his sons was, in fact, a blessing. In cursing their anger specifically — rather than his sons — Jacob sought to temper it, and to encourge them to distance themselves from their inappropriate behaviors. In this sense, his criticism was intended as a blessing, offering his sons a chance to renounce their past actions and become better people (Itturei Torah [“Torah Gems”, an anthology of mussar and Hasidic teachings]).
–from Devora E. Weisberg’s “Post-Biblical Interpretations” in The Torah: A Women’s Commentary*
*Please see Source Materials for complete citations.
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The “Opening the Book” series is presented in cooperation with the independent, cross-community Jewish Study Center and with Kol Isha, an open group pursuing spirituality from a woman’s perspective at Temple Micah (Reform). “A Song Every Day” is an independent blog, however, and all views, mistakes, etc. are the author’s.