In this episode of The Original Torah Pearls, Vayeitzei (Genesis 28:10-32:3), everything old is new again in as Gordon and crew release the vacuum-seal and allow the fresh air of language, history and context to inform Jacob’s time in Haran. Jacob’s servitude to his trickster father-in-law smells sadly familiar even in English, but the echoes of reciprocal justice appear most poignant in Hebrew.
Both the obvious and obscure perplexities of the Portion are examined: Leah’s eyes, Rachel’s thievery, Jacob’s breeding practices, his oblivious honeymoon and what it means to be “remembered” by God. We learn the myth of the Stone of Scone and that Bethel is not another name for Jerusalem.
Word studies include: “deceive,” “mandrakes,” “weak,” and “God’s camp.” The two names given to “pile of witness” reveal the first time a foreign language is spoken in the Tanakh. We also learn the meaning of the names of Jacob’s children—particularly Levi and its foreshadowing of a house of prayer for all nations—where everyone’s sacrifice will be accepted.
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