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The pattern of the deceiver being deceived continues.
After the sale of his favorite son Yosef (Joseph), Yaakov's other sons take Yosef's
garment of many colors and dip it in goat blood, convincing their father that Yosef had
been devoured. Extraordinary. As a young man, Yaakov deceived his elderly
father into blessing him while wearing the goatskin of his brother Esav. (Genesis
27:16) Now, as an elderly father, he himself is deceived by sons who use goat
blood to convince Yaakov of Yosef's death. (Genesis 37:31)
Yehudah is blessed with twins from Tamar. As they are born, the first puts forth his hand upon which is placed a scarlet thread. (Genesis 38:28) It's almost as if Yehudah wants to fix the mistake of his father and make forever clear who is the eldest of the twins.
Similarly, in the episode of Yosef bringing his children before his father Yaakov to be blessed. Yaakov reverses his hands, placing the right on Ephraim, the younger, and his left on Menasseh, the eldest. Alarmed, Yosef attempts to correct his father, warning him that he was mistaking the younger for the older. (Genesis 48:17) It seems that Yosef does not wish to make his father's mistake of presenting his sons out of birth order.
Often, children sense the remorse of parents for having committed a wrong. Even if parents are never given the opportunity to correct that mistake, their children may resolve to do the right thing if they are ever placed in that situation. In that sense, the failings of parents can be corrected by their children.
As it relates to our narrative, Yehudah and Yosef are the tikkun (repairing) for Yaakov. Yaakov had deceived his father and suffered for that misstep all of his life. Only when Yehudah, and finally Yosef reject deception, has Yaakov come full circle. His sin has finally been fixed-he has seen his children repair his wrong -now he can die in peace.
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