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Torah Commentary Blog

Parashat Vayeishev (December 8, 2012)
by Dr. Mark Weisstuch

“Now Jacob was settled in the land...”

THE OPENING SENTENCE of this portion suggests a turning point, a milestone achieved. Jacob, the third Patriarch, has lived through a succession of bitter, trying and even tragic experiences — cheating the blessing from his brother, Esau; inciting an entrenched sibling rivalry; fleeing home; enduring the duplicity of his uncle Laban; wrestling with a mysterious stranger; witnessing the rape of his daughter, Dinah; coping with the massacre of her lover and his family committed by his own sons; the death of his beloved Rachel. Jacob has indeed dealt with a lot, but it’s all behind him now. He has learned the lessons of life, he has grown. Now, the text seems to imply, he can rest: He settles into the “land where his father had sojourned.” He is no longer a wanderer like his father; his journey has culminated. He can rest in comfort and enjoy the fruits of his life’s work.

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