In the VaYetze weekly reading (Parasha) there is a long description of the colors of the sheep and goat: Akudim, Nekutim...

What is the reason behind all of this descriptions? If the text wanted to say that G-d made miracles for Yaakov and simple created more of one kind, there was no need to be so overly descriptive. So I assume there must be some other thing that is hiding behind this description, but I was unable to find any source that gives a good explanation. Is there is one at all?

  • 2
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    – user4523
    Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 23:24
  • @vainolo would you be interested in an original thought, or duo you only want sourced answers?
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    Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 14:29
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    Commented Nov 29, 2014 at 18:41
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    Commented May 18, 2015 at 13:12

2 Answers 2


While it is true that the Torah weighs every word and that many important Halachos are learned from minute hints, the Torah doesn't shy from verbosity when something is to be learned from it.

An example of this is the story of Eliezer's journey to find Rivka. The depiction of her giving him to drink is repeated three times: in his prayer, when she does it, and when he relates it to her family. Rashi quotes the Medrash that this shows us how valuable the Avos are to Hashem.

Another example is the repetition of offerings brought by the Nesiim. Instead of saying that each one brought this, the Torah enumerates by each one what he brought. There too, we find that the Medrash has a different intention by each one, although they happen to come out being the same.

It is a Mitzvah to recount Hashem's miracles. When we do so, we include all the details. As it says,מי ימלל גבורות ה' ישמיע כל תהילתו. Here too, by Yaakov's sheep, the miracle lies in the details. In order to understand the miracle one has to be aware of what he had, what the arrangement was, what the chances were and obviously, what exactly happened.

Surely there is deeper significance to all of this just like there is to Adam and Chava. But it is in the Torah for its plain sake as well, and there is much to learn from.

Another thing we learn from this episode is the extent of Lavan's trickery. This is important to understand what we say when we bring ביכורים, that ארמי אובד אבי. It is also important because it gives us insight into what Yaakov had to put up with and how he dealt with it. He didn't cheat the cheater, but he undermined him with his sharp Emes.


The Zohar interprets these events to mean the Yaakov was exploring the secrets of the mitzvah of Tzitzis.

  • I am not a Kabbalist and don't like to talk about matters which I don't understand. However, I believe an important principle underlies the question. Everything in the Torah is important, and descriptions are given for a reason. Again, I don't claim to have the authoritative answer either. I gave the best information I have, and let more Torah be shared.
    – LN6595
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 22:36

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