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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)
A descendant of שמעון בן יעקב .


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