I had a theory, [which I subsequently found in Pirkei D'Rav Eliezer chapter 24] regarding the Coat that Yaakov gave to Yosef that engendered so much jealousy from the brothers

Adam Harishon had a special coat that had a special power that would attract animals to it (See Pirkei D'Rav Eliezer 24) . The coat went from Noach to Cham and was then given to Nimrod. Later we know that Eisav killed Nimrod and took the coat. (Ibid.)

Later we learn the story of Yaakov and the blessings where Rivka gives to Yaakov a wool garment that belonged to Eisav so as not to get caught by Yitzchak.

In Vayeishev all of a sudden as a sign of love, Yaakov gives a coat to Yosef. Perhaps this coat is the same coat passed down from Adam Harishon?

If it's true, that the coat was given over to Yaakov when Rivka took it. How could that be? If the special powers of the garment were its aid in hunting, why didn't Eisav take it along with him, he just went out to hunt for his father so he should bless him, surely he would have brought it along?

Further, why would Yosef's brothers, who surely knew the great lineage and significance of the coat, destroy it?

  • 1
    Why would they be any more justified destroying a random piece of cloth that doesn't belong to them (probably worth more than a שוה פרוטה, but even if not it might not make a difference) than a cloth with any kind of powers?
    – Heshy
    Dec 15, 2016 at 17:35
  • @Heshy clearly there is SOME justification to destroy a begged,ha rayah they destroyed this ksones passim, but the justification for proof of death trumps the destroying this special begged? Which was clearly passed down with care and consideration through the generations. Dec 15, 2016 at 17:39

2 Answers 2


Pirkei Drebbi Eliezer (end of chapter 24) writes that Yaakov buried the coat after receiving the blessing from his father, in order to prevent it from returning to the hands of Eisav. I would assume that was the end of the line for the coat, though it could be argued that some time later he retrieved it at a time when he felt confident that Eisav wouldn't get it (and that it was somehow preserved in the interim). Also, the wording of the verse, that he "made" a coat for Yosef, would suggest it was a new coat.

On the other hand, the Korban Shabbos (based on Targum Yerushalmi and other sources) seems to suggest that Yosef's coat was indeed that of Adam.

Regarding your second question, I haven't seen any sources that discuss it, but here's my own (arguably far-fetched) theory: Alshich writes that they had animals readily available and thus there was no need for Eisav to hunt in order to obtain meat for his father. However, Yitzchak specifically wanted to make it difficult for Eisav, so that it would be a bigger mitzvah. Perhaps Eisav, in the spirit of this request, purposefully made it more challenging for himself by hunting without the coat. Maybe it could even be suggested that Yitzchak himself was instructing him to do so: he commanded his son to bring "your sword and bow", but not the coat!

Regarding your last question, first of all the plain meaning of the verse and the understanding of most commentators and translations is that they merely dipped the coat in blood, but did not necessarily tear it. Even according to the opinion (cited by Ramban) that they did tear it, one could explain as follows: the brothers needed their father to believe that Yosef was dead for their plan to succeed. There are commentators who write that the brothers believed that their plan was the right thing to do; they didn't view themselves as simply acting out of jealousy. Destroying the coat was thus, in their eyes, an act of service to God, which according to the Midrash was the originally intended purpose of the coat.

  • I already up voted earlier, but I would again just in appreciation of your proposed vort. Obviously it's pure conjecture and a chiddish. אין בית מדרש בלא חידוש Dec 15, 2016 at 17:54
  • +1 My first impression focused on the word "made" a coat, which is what you included.
    – DanF
    Dec 15, 2016 at 18:32

From the brothers' point of view, the coat was owned by two consecutive black sheep of their family, Eisav and Yosef. They may have viewed destroying it as a good thing, like Chizkiyahu hiding the ספר רפואות and destroying the snake: all good things that had been put to corrupt use.

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