Vayishlach (35:18) says that Rachel named Binyamin "Ben-Oni" (according to Rashi "son of my pain"). Is this meant to be suggestive of a double meaning in that Binyamin was actually a Benoni?

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    While I assume it's possible, and someone might talk about it, note that in the Hebrew there a few letter changes needed to make the connection: from בן אוני to בינוני you need to remove the aleph (and space) and add a yud
    – Lo ani
    Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 6:10

2 Answers 2


While it does not say it outright in connection to his name, it is worth noting the Likkutei Torah , Massei 3 by Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi who writes about the existence of two types of souls:

והנה הניצוצים המתפשטים מבחי׳ בנימין הם נשמות הבינונים ע״ד שפי׳ בסש״ב מהו בחי׳ בינוני והניצוצים מבחי׳ יוסף זהו בחי׳ נשמות הצדיקים

And here are the sparks spreading according to Binyamin - they are the souls of the mediocre/average ones according to the opinion that is explained in the Sefer Shel Beinonim (another reference to the Tanya) as to what is the notion of a "beinoni". And the sparks that stemmed from Yosef were those of the souls of the righteous.

  • Will need to track down the Tanya reference to see if it says anymore...
    – Dov
    Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 9:23
  • Ah ok thank you
    – Dov
    Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 12:32

Two names may signify two different realities.

Seems like the 12th son of Jacob does live up to be "Ben-Oni" by being accused and imprisoned by Joseph. The kingdom of Benjamin (King Saul+ King Ish-Bosheth) is very short lived, while the tribes of Judah and Joseph get the kingdom/birthright/national status.

Jacob could be saying through Benjamin that suffering/pain is his strength. This is also goes back to when Jacob's thigh muscle was dislocated by the angel of Esau in Genesis 32.

What's peculiar in Genesis 35 is that many locations go by two names:

  1. Luz is also Bethel.
  2. Ephrath is also Bethlehem.
  3. Kiriath-arba is also Hebron.

Somehow this primes Jacob to see two names for his 12th son. More meditation will need to be done on this. I'm still figuring it out.

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