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Parashat Vayechi NLS 5774

The Last Words

JPS: 1962 Simeon & Levi - brothers, tools of lawlessness are their weapons Let my person not be included in their council, let my being not be counted in their assembly. For in anger they slew men, AS they pleased they maimed oxen Cursed be their anger so fierce And their will so relentless I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel. Genesis 34 And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinahs brothers, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechems house, and went out. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister. They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and carried off all that was in the houses. And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, You have brought trouble on me to make me odious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and I being few in number, they shall gather together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house. And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with a harlot? Bereishit Rabba Their weapons what are these tools of violence? He told them they were stolen as they were in your hands. They arent yours, they are Esaus. [Isaacs blessing to Esau was] by your sword shall you live (Gen 27) Rashi They were of one idea when it came to Shechem, and they were of one idea when it came to Joseph. they said, man to his brother, come let us slay him (Gen 37:19-20). Who was talking? If you say Reuben or Judah, it cant be so, for they did not consent to kill him. If you say the sons of the maidservants, it cant be so for their hatred of Joseph was not complete, as it says And he was a lad with the sons of Bilhah and with the sons of Zilpah, (Gen 37:2). [If you say] Issachar and Zebulun, it cant be so, for they would not have spoken before their elder brothers. Therefore it must be Simeon and Levi. Let my soul not enter their counsel: This is the [future] incident of Zimri, when the tribe of Simeon gathered to bring the Midianitess before Moses, and they said to him, Is this one forbidden or permitted? If you say she is forbidden,

Parashat Vayechi NLS 5774

who permitted you to marry Jethros daughter? Let my name not be mentioned in connection with that affair. [Therefore, the Torah describes Zimri as] Zimri the son of Salu, the prince of a fathers house of the Simeonites (Num. 25:14), but [Scripture] did not write, the son of Jacob. - [from Sanh. 82a, Gen. Rabbah 99:6] Their assembly: When Korah, who is of the tribe of Levi, assembles the whole congregation against Moses and against Aaron. [From Tanchuma Vayechi 10] Deuteronomy 33 1. And this is the blessing, with which Moses the man of God blessed the people of Israel before his death. 8. And of Levi he said, Let your Thummim and your Urim be with your pious one, whom you did test at Massah, and with whom you fought at the waters of Meribah; (Shimon doesnt get a mention) Shimshon Raphael Hirsch - Horeb With regard to Simeon and Levi Jacob finds himself in a dilemma. Should he, because of the savagery, of their acts refuse to give his blessing to two children whose descendants were going to be part of the nation of God? His upright character caused him to hesitate and then, finally, he decided to have it given by a future prophet who was to be closer to God than himself [Moses] By this point there was a gulf between the previously inseparable brothers. Levi was like a man who had borrowed a sum of money from the King, then repaid it, and could even advance him some money in return. But Simeon resembled a man who had borrowed money from the King and then, far from repaying, had again become indebted to him. (Zohar) Levi had previously became guilty toward God because of the massacre at Shechem. But he had repaid his debt in the desert at the time of the Golden Calf, for of all the tribes, only Levi had answered Moses call, Whoever is on Gods side, let him come to me (Ex 32:26) What is more, it was a member of the tribe of Levi, Pinhas, who gloriously defended the Divine cause at Shittim, and he did so on his own initiative. As a result of this he turned the wrath of God away from the children of Israel (Num 25:11). As for Simeon he had not only remained indebted to God for his crimes at Shechem, but he had again become guilty at ShittimWhen this happened, even though their ancestors had been inseparable brothers, the two tribes met in fierce opposition Accordingly Moses blessed Levi, but not Simeon. (Deut 33:8)