Questions tagged [avot-patriarch-fathers]

Generally refers to Avraham (Abraham), Yitzchak (Isaac), and Yaakov (Jacob); the three patriarchs of the Jewish People.

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What was Bilhah and Zilpah's ancestry?

While the forefathers were very cautious in choosing their spouses from Avraham's family, the Torah says nothing about Bilhah and Zilpah's ancestry. What nation/family there were from and why the ...
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In Shemoneh Esrei- why “God of Avraham, God of Yitzchak, & God of Yaakov” instead of “God of Avraham, Yitzchak, & Yaakov?”

In the first bracha of Shemoneh Esrei, why do we say: אֱלקֵּי אַבְרָהָם. אֱלקֵּי יִצְחָק. וֵאלקֵּי יַעֲקב God of Avraham, God of Yitzchak, and God of Yaakov; instead of just saying: ...
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What happens when you turn 100?

The Mishna says: A hundred-year-old is as if he were dead, passed away and ceased connection with the world. [Avot 5:25] At first blush this seems callous and disrespectful. What is the teaching ...
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Is adding the “Immahot” (matriarchs) to the Amidah permitted?

Many non-traditional congregations have modified the Avot prayer opening the Amidah, to add the Immahot. For example: (Form Shabbat Siddur of the First Reform Minyan in UC Berkeley 2003) What is the ...
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Why does the Torah sometimes preface the avos with Elokei before each name but other times just once for the group?

In Shemos 3:6, the passuk says: "וַיֹּאמֶר אָנֹכִי אֱלֹהֵי אָבִיךָ אֱלֹקי אַבְרָהָם אֱלֹקי יִצְחָק וֵאלֹקי יַעֲקֹב וַיַּסְתֵּר מֹשֶׁה פָּנָיו כִּי יָרֵא מֵהַבִּיט אֶל־הָאֱלֹקים׃" "I am,” He ...
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Was Reuben's repentance accepted? If not, why not?

The midrash (Bereshit Rabba 84:19) indicates that Reuben did teshuva (repentance) for sleeping with his father's concubine Bilhah (Bereshit 35:22). However in both Yaakov's blessing (ibid 49:3-4) and ...
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How was Reuven considered Yaakov's first drop of semen?

Rashi on Bereishit 49:3 tells us that Reuven was conceived with the first drop of semen that Yaakov emitted. How does this fit with the verses in Bereishit 29:25 to Bereishit 29:31, which seem to ...
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Halachic status of ישמך אלקים כאפרים וכמנשה

Yaakov blessed Ephraim and Menashe by stating that future generations would bless their children by saying "ישמך אלקים כאפרים וכמנשה" - "God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh" (Gen. 48:20). Was this ...
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Yaakov complaining to Pharaoh about his life

This is Ramban's questions on the reason and benefit of Yaakov complaining to Pharaoh about his life (Gen 47, 9): "וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב אֶל־פַּרְעֹה יְמֵי שְׁנֵי מְגוּרַי שְׁלֹשִׁים וּמְאַת שָׁנָה ...
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Why did the Torah need to be given if the Avos knew and kept it?

It is a common theme in aggadic literature that The Avos were incredible tzadikim They more-or-less kept the entire Torah, including some derabannans If the mitzvos were already known and kept, and ...
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Yaakov becoming Ish-Sadeh?

"וַיִּגְדְּלוּ הַנְּעָרִים וַיְהִי עֵשָׂו אִישׁ יֹדֵעַ צַיִד אִישׁ שָׂדֶה וְיַעֲקֹב אִישׁ תָּם יֹשֵׁב אֹהָלִים׃" Yaakov was sitting down and studying (Rashi) and Eisov going to the fields: "...
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Reason for Yaakov not rushing to meet back his parents?

Follow-up to "yaakovs-lack-of-kibud-av-while-in-haran": Why Yaakov had no plans to see his parents when he returned from Haran, instead he buys a piece of land in Shechem, then moves on and only ...
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Tribes' names with את and without?

"וַתַּהַר לֵאָה וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן וַתִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ רְאוּבֵן" "וַתַּהַר עוֹד וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן ... וַתִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ שִׁמְעוֹן" "וַתַּהַר עוֹד וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן ... עַל־כֵּן קָרָא־שְׁמוֹ לֵוִי" "וַתַּהַר עוֹד ...
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Rachel Naming Binyamin

Rachel's final action before leaving this world was to give her son the name Ben Oni (Bereishis 35:18) וַיְהִי בְּצֵאת נַפְשָׁהּ כִּי מֵתָה וַתִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ בֶּן־אוֹנִי וְאָבִיו קָרָא־לוֹ ...
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Rachel Imeinu Deceiving Lavan while pregnant

In Bereshit 31:35 we learn that Rachel was able to hide the Teraphim under her saddle by telling her father Lavan that "The way of women is upon me", presumably a euphemism for menstruation. Just a ...
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Did anyone (especially Yaakov) ever find out about the idols?

Rachel took Lavan's terafim and hid them. Yaakov pronounced what some commentators view as a curse on anyone who had them (not just the one with whom they were found, but even if they were not found ...
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Reason for Yaakov's [lack of] Kibud Av while in Haran

The Gemmorah (Megilla 17a) mentions that Yaakov was punished for not honoring his parents for 22 years in Haran (but not for the 14 years at Ever's Yeshivah). His punishment was that his son Yossef ...
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Limited procreation of the patriarchs

Why our forefathers did not have more children: Why did Avraham stop after a single child with Sarah? Why did Itzhak stop after the twins? Why (and how) did Yaakov stop after having the 12 tribes, ...
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Yaakov's hurry to have kids at 84?

On the Posuk (Gen 29,21) וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב אֶל־לָבָן הָבָה אֶת־אִשְׁתִּי כִּי מָלְאוּ יָמָי וְאָבוֹאָה אֵלֶיהָ׃" Bereyshis Rabba 70,18 explains that Yaakov was 84 and knew that he's destined to ...
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Centrality of Jerusalem for forefathers and before Temple

I was having an argument about the centrality of Jerusalem in our tradition when I realized surprisingly, that, seemingly from the scriptures, Jerusalem wasn't so central for our forefathers at all. ...
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Leah's marriage: why not normally?

Yaakov had to marry Leah by surprise/error. But why? Why not making such that he wanted to marry both Leah and Rachel, and everything nice? An answer given somewhere(?), is because Leah represents ...
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How old were Rochel and Leah when they got married to Yaakov? [duplicate]

To my recollection I have never seen an answer to this or have known anything regarding Rochel and Leah's ages at marriage. Are they known?
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Was it a sin for Yitzchak to swear to Avimelech

The Midrash rebukes Avraham for swearing to Avimelech and making a covenant (Genesis 21:23-32): אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אַתָּה נָתַתָּ שֶׁבַע כְּבָשׂוֹת בְּלִי רְצוֹנִי, חַיֶּיךָ ...
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Your name shall be 'Yisrael', but what does it mean and why so?

In relation to another question of mine I would like to know what the name Yisrael really means. It literally says Ya'akov is now names Yisrael because he has struggled AND has overcome. I heard ...
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Name changing and mazal with 2 of our fathers and 1 mother

The Talmud (appreciate if someone can edit the location) says that one way to change one's mazal is to change his / her name. Avram became Avraham; Sarai became Sarah and Ya'akov became Yisrael. Did ...
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Why is Yaakov’s name changed twice?

In the parasha of Vayishlach Yaakov’s name is changed twice. Both times his new name is Yisrael. He is morphed twice from the ‘One Who Grasps Ankles’ to ‘the One Who Wrestles with G-d.’ The first time ...
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Connection between the akeidah and bikkurim

Some of the akeidah selichos, particularly for days 4 and 5 of teshuvah (Artscroll Minhag Lita), contain references to the mitzvah of bikkurim. Are there any other sources that draw this comparison ...
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Who was older, Miriam or Aaron?

Do we have any sources addressing which of Moshe Rabbeinu's older siblings, Miriam and Aaron, was older?
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Did Avraham Avinu daven all the tefilos or just Shacharis?

We learn (Brachot 26b): תניא כוותיה דרבי יוסי בר' חנינא אברהם תקן תפלת שחרית שנא' וישכם אברהם בבקר אל המקום אשר עמד שם ... יצחק תקן תפלת מנחה שנאמר ויצא יצחק לשוח בשדה לפנות ערב ואין שיחה אלא תפלה ....
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Sources on Ephraim and Menashe's greatness [duplicate]

Many of us bless our children on Friday nights. The bracha for daughters is pretty easy to understand- among other things we wish them to be as great as Sarah, Rivka and Leah- towering female figures ...
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Forefathers' merits mentioned for the Golden Calf but not for the Spy Mission?

Inevitably, my rav is unafraid to admit what he doesn't know, but he will pose the question, anyway. I heard this from him during last week's Seudah Shlishit, after the herring: There are two sins ...
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Acronym for ישראל (original source)

Where was this insight originally brought down from? י = יצחק, יעקב ש = שרה ר = רבקה, רחל א = אברהם ל = לאה The earliest work I could find was שני לוחות הברית But I'm not sure if it ...
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Did Yaakov bless his daughter Dina?

In parshat Vayechi Yaakov blesses (almost) all his children. There is no mention of him giving a blessing to his daughter Dina. I would like to know if there is any recording of a blessing from Yaakov ...
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Rashi Comment on Twins Tube with Pebbles

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 ...
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If a convert is already a descendant of Abraham, does he become Ben Avraham Avinu?

A convert is considered to be the child of Abraham when called up to the Torah - ben Avraham Avinu. Does this still apply if the convert was born as a non-Jewish paternal descendant of Abraham? For ...
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Yaakov and Esav identical twins?

Were Yaakov and Esav monozygotic ("identical") twins, or dizygotic ("fraternal") twins? (Inspired by Sabbahillel's answer to Why is the birth of twins a Chidush for Rivka?)
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Bris Bein Habesarim Peshat

The Passuk in Bereishis 15:9, describing the opening of the Bris Bein Habesarim says: קחה לי עגלה משולשת ועז משולשת ואיל משולש ותור וגוזל. There are a boatload of opinions on what Meshuleshes and ...
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Significance of the numbers 3 and 7 in the story of Lavan

Al Berko in Why did Ya'akov enslave himself for so long? assumes that readers probably know what 3 times 7 stands for in the context of "Eisav's mission" to cope with "Lavan's Evil". He does not ...
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Sur meRah Mission

What does Sur meRah mean (sources please) in the context of Al Berko's answer to Why did Ya'akov enslave himself for so long?? I think it might mean to turn away from evil, but then there would ...
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Stealing of Beracha/Mission

Al Berko in Why did Ya'akov enslave himself for so long? claimed that "If you remember, he stole Eisov's Brochos, and therefore, Eisov's mission in this world." What does "stealing someone's ...
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Why didn't Binyamin die?

In Genesis 31:32 we have Yaakov's response to Lavan's charge that someone in Yaakov's party had stolen something from Lavan. עִם אֲשֶׁר תִּמְצָא אֶת אֱלֹהֶיךָ לֹא יִחְיֶה נֶגֶד אַחֵינוּ הַכֶּר ...
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How could they call Yaakov by name?

Chazal in a few places (Pesachim 56a and Bereishis Rabbah 98:3 for example) say that Yaakov asked his twelve sons if any of them had turned rotten, or had a lapse in faith. They responded שמע ישראל ...
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Did Jacob ever figure out what the Brothers did to Joseph?

It's a simple question that I thought about this past week (since the parashah was Mekeitz). Is there any evidence that Jacob could have figured out what happened to Joseph before they reunited in ...
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Why did Jacob live “in his father's dwelling land”?

Parashas Vayeshev begins (Genesis 37:1, in my own translation): Jacob lived in the land of his father's dwelling: in the land of Canaan. I understand why it repeats the already-known fact (35:27, ...
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Dovid got lifespan from Adam and/or the Avos

I think it's pretty well known that there's an idea that 70 years from Adam's life were given to Dovid Hamelech, which is why he lived to 930 and not 1000. A source that I found for this is Zohar ...
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When did Eisav find out that Yaakov was still alive?

The pasuk in Bereishis 29:11 says: וַיִּשַּׁ֥ק יַעֲקֹ֖ב לְרָחֵ֑ל וַיִּשָּׂ֥א אֶת־קֹל֖וֹ וַיֵּֽבְךְּ׃ Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and broke into tears. Rashi says on that pasuk: ...Another ...
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Why did Ya'akov work for Lavan for so long?

I'm having a bit of trouble understanding Or Hachaim's explanation on Breishit 29:18. Usually Jewish slaves work for only 6 years. Yet, Ya'akov offers to work for Lavan for 7 years as payment for ...
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Why didn't Ya'akov try to hide from Esav?

I know that there are some Midrashim that "blame" Ya'akov for sending messengers to Esav. But, after he sends them, they return and report that Esav is coming after him with 400 men. We see that he ...
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Why does the Torah seem to tolerate cheating esp. with Ya'akov and his sons?

I'm a bit puzzled that the concepts of cheating and deception seem to repeat themselves in almost every weekly parsha from Toldot through Vayechi. Ya'akov apparently takes advantage of a tired Esav ...
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Why both a גל and a מצבה - Breishit 31:45 - 46?

In Breishit 31:45, Ya'akov takes a stone and creates a מצבה (my translation - "monument") In verse 46, he takes several stones and creates a גל (my translation "heap"). Both of them were used as "...