In Gen. 32:26, during Ya'aqobh's struggle with a malakh (angel/emissary), he is struck. The Ba'al ha-Turim there offers two explanations for the location that the malakh chose to strike his body. The first explanation is peculiar (the adversary wanted to determine if he was also a malakh with a straight unjointed leg) but that is not what bothers me here. The Tur's second explanations is that:

לפסלו מן העבודה לפי שקנה מעשו הבכורה שבהן העבודה "בכף ירכו" בגימטריא לפוסלו מכהונה

His intent was to disqualify Ya'aqobh from the [priestly] service, for Ya'aqobh had purchased the birthright, and the [priestly] service was granted to the firstborn. Thus the gematria of בכף ירכו the socket of his hip (338) is equal to that of לפוסלו מכהונה, to disqualify him from priesthood.

It seems that the Ba'al ha-Turim is suggesting that the attacker wanted to render him a ba'al mum (i.e. as one carrying a defect/blemish that would invalidate his ability to perform the abhodah) and thereby deprive him of an aspect of the blessing, i.e. the kehunah, he received as part of the birthright.

My question is as follows: Why would it matter if Ya'qobh was a ba'al mum? Being a ba'al mum does not mean that one cannot pass down the kehunah (priesthood) to their sons. The intergenerational transmission of the rights/blessings of the bekhor would remain uninterrupted, so how is this really an attack on the bekhor's blessing? And if you want to say, that at least it prevented Ya'aqobh himself from the abhodah, we see later on that his injury did not in fact prevent him from bringing qorbanoth (Gen. 46:1). So, what's going on here? What am I missing?

  • Re: your final question. Midrashic tradition has it that he was healed from his injury. Maybe that's why he could bring korbanot later.
    – Joel K
    Dec 4, 2023 at 14:18
  • @JoelK thanks, that could be a partial answer :) If you are aware of where the particular midrash can be found please post it as an answer Dec 4, 2023 at 14:33
  • @JoelK Deuteronomy sefaria.org/…
    – Double AA
    Dec 4, 2023 at 15:15
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    @Deuteronomy I agree it's not tight enough, so I'll demur for now, but if I find the question very good and very interesting so I'll be keeping it in mind bli neder. Btw my link was broken above so here it is again: sefaria.org/Tur_HaArokh%2C_Genesis.32.26.2?lang=he
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Dec 4, 2023 at 16:26
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    @RabbiKaii Tur HaAroch is the main commentary of the Tur. The "Ba'al HaTurim" were included in the Tur HaAroch when it was written, but later published separately.
    – N.T.
    Dec 5, 2023 at 6:16


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