In next week's Torah portion, Jacob is brought the many-colored coat he'd given his favorite son, Joseph. The coat has been dipped in goat's blood to trick Jacob into believing Joseph was torn by a wild animal, rather than that his own brothers sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:23-36). "We found this; identify, if you … Continue reading Investigation and Surmise
This week's Torah portion, Vayeitzei (Genesis 28:10-32:3), opens with Jacob, en route from his parents' home to the land of his mother's people. He stops for the night and dreams of a ladder, its top in heaven and its bottom on earth, with angels traveling up and down. In the dream, God is "standing over … Continue reading Legends of Luz
How long was Jacob married to Leah before he also married Rachel? This question came up in discussion at Temple Micah's Kol Isha group this week concerning Jacob and his wives (Parashat Vayeitzei, primarily). We were confused, since participants had been taught different basic facts: Some remembered clearly being taught as children that Laban demanded … Continue reading Seven Days or Seven Years: Why Don’t Reform Jews Know?
In one of her studies of Vayechi, "Jacob's Testament," Nechama Leibowitz* discusses Joseph's reluctance to swear to Jacob's burial wish: The Midrash aptly explains the difference between Joseph's behavior and that of Abraham's servant [when asked to swear, regarding finding a wife for Isaac]: Said Rabbi Isaac: The servant acted servilely and the freeman as … Continue reading Vayechi: A Path to Follow
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 … Continue reading Vayechi: Something to Notice