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Genesis VaYechi
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  Chayey Sarah
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 49:14  49:15
49:14 'Issachar is a strong-boned donkey, stretching out between the saddlebags.
Yisachar chamor garem rovets beyn hamishpetayim.
49:15 But he sees that the resting place is good, and that the land is pleasant, so he will bend his back to the load, working like a slave.
Vayar menuchah ki tov ve'et-ha'arets ki na'emah vayet shichmo lisbol vayehi lemas-oved.
49:16 'Dan shall fight for (dan) his people, like any one of the tribes of Israel.
Dan yadin amo ke'achad shivtey Yisra'el.
49:17 Let Dan be a snake on the road, a viper on the path, biting the horse's heel, so the rider falls backward.
Yehi Dan nachash aley-derech Shfifon aley-orach hanoshech ikvey-sus vayipol rochevo achor.
49:18 I pray that God will help you.
Lishu'atcha kiviti Adonay.


strong-boned donkey
  (Rashi; Ibn Ezra). Or, 'Issachar has a powerful body' (Saadia; Sh'muel ben Chofni), 'Issachar shall haul by donkey' (in contrast to Zebulun; Bereshith Rabbah 99); or 'Issachar was caused by a donkey' (Niddah 31a; Bereshith Rabbah 98). According to one opinion, a donkey found the mandrakes and died (Genesis 30:14; Midrash Aggadah, quoted Tzeror HaMor as Midrash HaGaluy).

  (Radak; Sforno). Or, 'resting between stops' (Rashi; Targum); or 'lying between the extremes [of the land]' (Sh'muel ben Chofni; cf. Ibn Janach).

But he sees...
  (Ibn Ezra; Sh'muel ben Chofni). Cf. Tzava'ath Yessachar 3:1, 5:5.

fight for...
  Or 'avenge' (Rashi), or 'judge' (Radak).

like any of the tribes...
  Although he was the son of a handmaid (Radak). Others, 'like the unique tribe of Israel' (Rashi); or 'the tribes of Israel will be united' (Rashi).

  Shefifon in Hebrew, occurring only here. The Septuagint and Vulgate render it as Cerastes. On the basis of Semitic cognates, it is most probably the black and red horned viper, Pseudocerastes fieldi, that lives in the Holy Land. The Hebrew name comes from its rustling of scales. This snake digs into the sand with only his long thin horns protruding (cf. Yerushalmi, Terumah 8:3), and when birds take these horns for worms and peck at them, the snake kills them. Hence, this is seen as an indication that Dan will engage in guerilla warfare. In Talmudic tradition, this is seen as a prediction of Samson's career.

I pray...
  (Chizzkuni; HaKethav VeHaKabbalah). Or, 'I hope for your deliverance, O God' (Ramban).

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