Photo Credit: Assaf Preretz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Oil lamp found in the excavation near teh Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway.

“And Jacob was left alone…”

Why was he alone?


The Gemara tells us (Chulin 91a) that after Yaakov moved his camp to the other side of the brook, he busied himself with some small stuff — earthenware jars, or jugs.

Lest we think less of Yaakov for caring about unimportant things, the Gemara comments that Tzaddikim care more about possessions than about themselves, as their possessions were not accrued via “gezel”, but are the result of honest business practice.

What a message!

Where is the hint in the pasuk that these jugs were the items involved?

The Ba’alei Tosfot offer 2 suggestions:

1) לבדו is similar to לכדו

2) בית הבד is an olive press This hints to small, jugs as that is what we put olive oil in, as opposed to big jugs for wine.

Maybe these small jugs פכין קטנים, hint to that well known small jug of oil that was found in the Temple by the Chashmonaim.

Perhaps the lesson to take is that if we want big miracles to happen we should concentrate on doing the right thing always, even when it seems like the details are trivial.


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Rav Korn is a senior Rabbi at Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh