Gen 47, 29:

"וַיִּקְרְבוּ יְמֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל לָמוּת וַיִּקְרָא לִבְנוֹ לְיוֹסֵף וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ
אִם־נָא מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ שִׂים־נָא יָדְךָ תַּחַת יְרֵכִי
וְעָשִׂיתָ עִמָּדִי חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת אַל־נָא תִקְבְּרֵנִי בְּמִצְרָיִם׃

And when the time approached for Israel to die, he summoned his son Joseph and said to him, “Do me this favor, please, place your hand under my thigh as a pledge of your steadfast loyalty: please do not bury me in Egypt."

Seemingly, Yaakov should have commanded Yosef to bury him in Israel, but instead, he begged him.


  • 2
    In 49:29 he does command. And the placing of the hand is taken to be an oath, as described two verses later.
    – Alex
    Dec 23, 2018 at 20:51
  • @Alex 1. he repeats his request before the other sons 2. Why לשון בקשה and not ציווי?
    – Al Berko
    Dec 23, 2018 at 21:00
  • 1. Yosef was present as well. 2. What does a command add to an oath?
    – Alex
    Dec 23, 2018 at 21:04
  • @Alex Do you mean to ask why it was an oath instead of a command?
    – Al Berko
    Dec 23, 2018 at 22:16
  • 1
    It wasn't a question that Yosef would take his father to EY,rather he asked Yosef to take an oath to put pressure on paroh,so no command was necessary ,everyone was on the same page except maybe paroh.
    – sam
    Dec 23, 2018 at 22:34

1 Answer 1


R' Samson Raphael Hirsch, in his commentary on this verse, reads the first נא as "after all." He suggests that Yosef had always wanted to use his power as viceroy to do favors for his father, but Yaakov had refused special treatment. Now, Yaakov did finally want one special favor, so he opened with "if, after all, you still want to favor me."

Taking this idea in a slightly different suggestion, I would suggest that perhaps even now, Yaakov was trying to avoid taking unfair advantage of being the viceroy's father. So, he approached Yosef as a petitioner to the viceroy, using appropriately obsequious language, rather than as a father to a son.

  • Like אב שמחל על כבודו? Being a father is an unfair advantage?
    – Al Berko
    Feb 5, 2019 at 12:02
  • @AlBerko as in, nepotism
    – Isaac Moses
    Feb 5, 2019 at 12:22

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