When I was reading the blessing of Jacob (Bereishit 49), it caught my attention that the blessing of Benjamin and the summary is combined with the death and the funeral of Jacob. Based on Sifra, Rashi (Vayikra 1:1) and Maharshal (שו"ת ל"ז – כי רבותינו הקדמונים וכו'‏) suggest that the division into parashot more or less follows the topics discussed in the text. Yet, this particular blessing is organised in the following way:

  • Reuven (after two introductory verses) – open paragraph
  • Shimon and Levi – open paragraph, combined due to their conspiracy
  • Yehudah, Zevulun – each separated by an open paragraph
  • Yissakhar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naftali – each separated by a closed paragraph, end of aliyah after Dan
  • Joseph – open paragraph, end of aliyah
  • Benjamin (followed by a summarising verse) –
    not separated from the rest of the paragraph discussing another topic

Indeed, it happens that in similar lists the last item goes with the summary (Bemidbar 26:48–51 or 29:35–30:1, Devarim 33:24–29),* but I didn't find any other instances when it is added to another paragraph discussing a totally different topic. Are there any explanations why Benjamin is added to the subsequent paragraph? Was he considered anything different from the rest of his brothers? Can it be a parallel with the death of his mother?

* In contrast with other cases where the last item and the summary are separated: Bemidbar 1:42–43 and 44–47, 7:78–83 and 84–89,

  • 1
    I wonder whether there might be some connection with the fact that his stone on the Choshen was multicolored, incorporating the colors of all of the other Shevatim's stones (and flags). So maybe, in the same vein, his berachah is placed in the same paragraph that mentions the twelve of them.
    – Meir
    Jan 4, 2021 at 17:37
  • In English paragraph breaks can also mark topical divisions and list divisions (commonly, different speakers). Imagine: Topic topic topic topic topic Speaker1 Speaker2 topic. No one would be bothered by the last topic sentence being too short to be a paragraph on its own. Because the list breaks don't interrupt the topic.
    – Double AA
    Jan 4, 2021 at 17:38
  • @Meir What about Reuvein also being in such a paragraph?
    – Double AA
    Jan 4, 2021 at 17:40
  • @DoubleAA His paragraph doesn't actually mention the number 12. But you're right, there's probably more to consider here.
    – Meir
    Jan 4, 2021 at 17:42
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    @Kazibácsi (Yaakov's final blessings and his final instructions seem way more related than Keturah.) Nothing can contradict it because no one can prove it has to be some way. It's just abundantly clear from all these examples that the current way isn't weird. It's well within the normal bounds of what gets grouped into a parsha. Not "a totally different topic".
    – Double AA
    Jan 4, 2021 at 18:36

1 Answer 1


Though this is a very striking example, there are a number of places in the Torah where the breaks, psucha and stumah, divide the middle parts of a list and not the beginning and/or the end. I don't have a complete list of examples, but might as well start with the punishments of the nachash, Chava, and Adam in Bereishis 3:14-19. There are more, though not every one is at both at the beginning and the end of the list.
In other words, the answer to your question is that the blessing of Binyamin is not actually combined with the following section. It is just not separated from it. The rest of the brothers' blessings are not separated from it either - they are separated from one another.

  • Very nice example
    – Double AA
    Jan 4, 2021 at 19:43
  • Also later Bereishis 5:32-6:1
    – Double AA
    Jan 4, 2021 at 19:46
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    Yeah, there're lots once you start looking for them. My favorite is the list of tumah in Parshas Shemini; there's a section on "tumah" of things you can't eat, no breaks. In the middle of it is a sub-section on tumos of touching, which has two stumos in the middle. Afterward it switches back into tumah of eating with no break.
    – MichoelR
    Jan 4, 2021 at 19:53
  • I suppose you make a really interesting claim. Have you by any chance found a source which supports your point of view? Jan 5, 2021 at 8:14
  • @Kazibácsi Isn't this exactly what I've been arguing for in the comments on the question?
    – Double AA
    Jan 5, 2021 at 14:18

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