Rashi to Genesis 25:26

ואחרי כן יצא אחיו וגו’ צֵא וּלְמַד מִשְּׁפוֹפֶרֶת שְׁפִּיהָ קְצָרָה, תֶּן לָהּ שְׁתֵּי אֲבָנִים זוֹ אַחַר זוֹ, – הַנִּכְנֶסֶת רִאשׁוֹנָה תֵּצֵא אַחֲרוֹנָה וְהַנִּכְנֶסֶת אַחֲרוֹנָה תֵּצֵא רִאשׁוֹנָה; נִמְצָא עֵשָׂו הַנּוֹצָר בָּאַחֲרוֹנָה יָצָא רִאשׁוֹן וְיַעֲקֹב שֶׁנוֹצַר רִאשׁוֹנָה יָצָא אַחֲרוֹן, וְיַעֲקֹב בָּא לְעַכְּבוֹ, שֶׁיְּהֵא רִאשׁוֹן לְלֵידָה כְּרִאשׁוֹן לִיצִירָה, וְיִפְטוֹר אֶת רַחֲמָהּ וְיִטּוֹל אֶת הַבְּכוֹרָה מִן הַדִּין

After that his brother came out, etc. Go and learn this from a narrow tube, insert two stones, one behind the other. The one inserted first will come out last and the one inserted last will come out first. Consequently, Eisov, who was conceived last came out first and Yaakov, who was conceived first came out last. Yaakov, thus, attempted to hold him back so that he [Yaakov] would be born first as he was the first conceived and be the first out of the womb so that he would rightfully gain his birthright.

Rashi (stating that he's quoting a Medrash to explain the pshat) seems to be implying that when twins are born, the "bechor" is really the second one to emerge. But (as far as I know) we don't consider that to be true according to Halachah. How does this jive with his explanation that Yaakov is "really" the bechor?

  • Wait, what's the question?
    – ezra
    Apr 11, 2018 at 4:20
  • Taken together, this Rashi, the midrash about the twin girls with each shevet, and Rashi in Vaychi כחי וראשית אני are inconsistent.
    – Heshy
    Apr 11, 2018 at 11:04
  • @Heshy I see no reason why the twin sisters couldn't have been born before their brothers. If this is assumed, then the Rashi here and the Rashi in Vayechi is consistent. As for Reuven being referred to as the "bechor", well, he is the firstborn son. And as we know from Ta'anis Bechoros, the first son a couple has is known as the firstborn.
    – ezra
    Apr 11, 2018 at 12:40
  • @ezra not for pidyon haben
    – Heshy
    Apr 11, 2018 at 12:41
  • 1
    @ezra it's a stretch to define "bechor" based on a minhag, when we have a perfectly good mitzva deoraisa (actually several, since there are also animal bechoros and peter chamor) that can provide a definition. Also both answers here disagree with you.
    – Heshy
    Apr 11, 2018 at 12:48


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