Photo Credit: 1728 Figures de la Bible, Gerard Hoet (1648-1733) and others, published by P. de Hondt in The Hague in 1728
Jacob blessing his sons

When Jacob addressed his sons prior to his passing, the first three were chastised.

Rashi tells of the haste in which Reuven showed his wrath. Yaakov speaks of the rage of Shimon and Levi as they slew a man.


Lesson number 1: Anger leads to misdeed and should be avoided.

The fourth brother is commended. Despite the fact that Yehuda was worried that he would be criticized due to the Tamar episode, Yaakov reassures Yehuda. One cannot miss the connection between Yehuda and “yoducha”. Because Yehuda admitted his wrongdoing “Hoda”, his brothers accept and praise him “yoducha”. (Breishit Rabba, Radak)

Lesson number 2: Take responsibility and own up to your deeds.

These lessons may be connected.

A person who cannot admit the truth will often look for excuses and scapegoats. He will be frustrated and angry. Taking responsibility is often difficult, and requires inner strength, but in the long run will make the person stronger. Others will look up to him and are likely to choose him as their leader, as the brothers did with Yehuda.