Oxford Jewish Thought

Lectures, essays, questions & articles

by Rabbi Eli Brackman

Parsha and Manuscript: Vayeshev - ‘Jacob dwelt in the land of his father's sojournings’

MS Michael 384.jpgIn the Torah portion of Vayeshev it discusses the return of Jacob in Canaan after dwelling in the house of Laban for twenty years and his encounter with Esau. The Torah states:[1] ‘Jacob dwelt in the land of his father's sojournings, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob: when Joseph was seventeen years old, being a shepherd.’ The story of Jacob follows a complete chapter about the sojournings of Esau, and his sojournings, whereby it states:[2] And these are the generations of Esau, that is, Edom, followed by his family, concluding with: ‘So Esau dwelt on Mount Seir Esau, that is Edom.’[3] It then proceeds to detail the family of Esau:[4] ‘And these are the generations of Esau the progenitor… Read More »

Parsha and Manuscript: Vayetze - ‘Wait this week’

MS. Michael 384 (1399).jpgIn the portion of Vayetze it discusses the marriage of Jacob to Rachel and Leah. He worked for seven years for his uncle Laban to marry Rachel but was deceived into marrying Leah instead of Rachel. Laban then says to Jacob:[1] ‘Wait until the week of this one is over and we will give you that one too, provided you serve e another seven years.’ The question that arises is why did Laban say ‘wait the week’ and not give Jacob Rachel right away or after a few days? What is the significance of Jacob being asked by Laban to wait a week before marrying a second wife? In this essay, we will explore the concept of waiting seven days and how it reflects an aspect of Jewish law that is relevant until today.


Seven days …Read More »

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