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יַעֲקֹב (יִשְׂרָאֵל) (בראשית כה-נ)
Second-born son of יצחק and רבקה , the third of Israel's patriarchs: אברהם , יצחק and יעקב . When עשו is born, יעקב , still in the womb, holds fast to עשו 's heel (עֲקֵב ) which is the source of יעקב 's name. Unlike his active brother, יעקב is a homebody preferring "dwelling in tents" to running in the fields. One day, יעקב is in the process of cooking a stew when עשו returns from the hunt. יעקב agrees to feed his brother in return for the rights that עשו holds as oldest son. Later, יעקב is persuaded by his mother רבקה to impersonate his brother עשו and thus receive עשו 's blessing from יצחק . יעקב covers his arms in goat skins to mimic the hairiness of his brother and dresses in עשו 's hunting clothes which bear a distinctive smell. יעקב presents יצחק with a meal prepared by רבקה and pretends he's עשו . יצחק is fooled and gives יעקב the blessing intended for עשו . יעקב is then forced to flee כנען in anticipation of his brother's rage and makes his way north to the household of his uncle לבן (פרשת תולדות ). On his way from באר שבע to חרן , יעקב stops in בית אל where God appears to him in a dream featuring a ladder with ascending and descending angels. יעקב meets his cousins רחל and לאה and works for seven years in order to marry רחל .
Besides being her son, יעקב is also his mother רבקה 's second-cousin: נחור and אברהם are brothers; נחור 's son בתואל and אברהם 's son יצחק are first-cousins; בתואל 's daughter רבקה and יצחק 's son יעקב are second- cousins. יעקב is also the nephew and second-cousin of his father-in-law לבן who is his mother's brother. יעקב marries sisters - רחל and לאה who are daughters of his uncle לבן . This means that יעקב marries two women who are both his first-cousins (daughters of his mother's brother) and his second-cousins once- removed (daughters of his second-cousin לבן ). Of course when יעקב marries רחל , he marries his sister-in-law, having married לאה first. יעקב is therefore related to רחל in four different ways: he is her husband, brother-in-law, first-cousin, and second-cousin once-removed. Continuing this analysis we find that יעקב 's sons have multiple connections to their relatives as well. ראובן for example is לאה 's son but also her third-cousin: ראובן is a second-cousin once-removed to his grandfather לבן and לאה is once-removed from him. ראובן is a grandson of רבקה (יעקב 's mother) and her second-cousin once-removed. He is also his father's third-cousin: יעקב and רבקה are second-cousins, so יעקב 's son (ראובן ) and רבקה 's son (יעקב ) are third-cousins.
On the wedding night, his father-in-law, לבן switches women and יעקב unwittingly marries לאה . Although furious at the deception, יעקב agrees to work for another seven years to earn the hand of רחל . רחל is given to him after a week, whereupon he begins to pay his debt to לבן . During יעקב 's stay in לבן 's house (which eventually totals 20 years) eleven sons and a daughter are born to him and his four wives (יעקב also marries רחל 's maid בלהה and לאה 's maid זלפה ). The children in order of birth are: ראובן , שמעון , לוי , יהודה (born to לאה ); דן and נפתלי (born to בלהה ); גד and אשר (born to זלפה ); יששכר , זבֻלון and דינה (born to לאה ); יוסף (born to רחל ). יעקב becomes wealthy in לבן 's employ and this incurs לבן 's jealousy. When יעקב decides to head back to כנען he sneaks away without telling לבן . לבן pursues יעקב and his family but is warned by God not to harm יעקב . The two strike a covenant at הַר גַּלְעֵד (פרשת ויצא ). Ahead of his arrival in כנען , יעקב sends messengers to his brother עשו . The messengers report back that עשו is advancing with 400 men and יעקב is afraid that his brother will seek revenge and slaughter יעקב and his family. In an attempt to temper עשו 's ill feelings, יעקב sends gifts to him. The night before their meeting יעקב has a strange encounter with a man who wrestles with him and then changes his name to ישראל meaning "one who has struggled with God and man and prevailed." יעקב 's meeting with עשו is cordial and the two part on good terms. יעקב buys land at שְכֶם from the ruler of the place, חֲמוֹר . יעקב 's daughter דינה is later raped by חמור 's son שכם . יעקב does not respond to this outrage but waits for his sons to return from the fields. When שמעון and לוי take justice into their own hands and slaughter all of שכם 's compatriots, יעקב is afraid that this action will spur neighbouring peoples to attack יעקב and his family. יעקב joins his brother עשו in burying יצחק when the father dies at age 180 (פרשת וישלח ). יעקב favours רחל 's first-born son יוסף and gives him a special coat. When יוסף begins to have dreams of his family bowing down to him, יעקב rebukes the lad, but senses that there's something to these visions. Later, יעקב sends יוסף to check on his other sons who are tending sheep away from home. יוסף 's brothers sell him to some passing ישמעאלים and then try to cover up their deed by dipping יוסף 's coat in the blood of a goat and allowing יעקב to believe that יוסף has been killed by an animal. יעקב is inconsolable at the loss of his son whom he will not see again for 22 years (פרשת וישב ). The years pass and the famine predicted by יוסף hits כנען too. יעקב sends his sons to Egypt to buy food for the clan. The patriarch, however, is reluctant to send his youngest son בנימין along, lest a catastrophe befall this remaining son of רחל . יעקב 's sons return without שמעון and when the family eventually runs out of food, יהודה convinces his father to let them return to Egypt with בנימין to satisfy the condition set by the ruler they met there (פרשת מקץ ). יוסף finally reveals himself to his brothers and sends them, bearing gifts, back to כנען to fetch their father and return with him to Egypt. Father and son meet and embrace; יעקב is presented to פרעה . יעקב and his sons and grandsons settle in the land of גֹּשֶן (פרשת ויגש ). On his deathbed, יעקב tells יוסף that יוסף 's two sons, אפרים and מנשה , will henceforward be counted among יעקב 's own sons. (When the nation is eventually organized by tribes- each of יעקב 's sons founding a clan in the nation of Israel, אפרים and מנשה lead their own tribe.) Against יוסף 's wishes, יעקב blesses his two grandsons with his right hand on the younger- אפרים , and his left hand on the older- מנשה (the right hand was considered more important). יעקב claims that אפרים 's descendants are going to be greater than those of מנשה , a statement which some suggest refers to the leadership of יהושע who is from שבט אפרים (see רש "י to בראשית מח :יט ). יעקב then blesses his other sons and repeats his request that they not bury him in Egypt but return his body to כנען and bury it in מערת המכפלה with his wife לאה and his parents and grandparents. יעקב dies at the age of 147 and his final request is fulfilled by his sons (פרשת ויחי ).
יַעֲקֹבָה (דברי הימים א ד:לו)