Contents Calendar Find Reference
Torah 
Navigating the Bible
Genesis VaYetse
Genesis
  Bereshit
  Noach
  Lech Lecha
  VaYera
  Chayey Sarah
  Toledot
  VaYetse
  VaYishlach
  VaYeshev
  MiKets
  VaYigash
  VaYechi
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy
First Reading, Second Reading, Third Reading, Fourth Reading, Fifth Reading, Sixth Reading, Seventh Reading, Last Reading

VaYetse

  
BackForward
 30:13
 30:14
30:14 Fourth Reading
Reuben took a walk during the wheat harvest and he found mandrakes in the field. He brought them to his mother Leah.

Rachel said to Leah, 'Please give me some of your son's mandrakes.'
Vayelech Re'uven bimey ktsir-chitim vayimtsa duda'im basadeh vayave otam el-Leah imo vatomer Rachel el-Leah tni-na li miduda'ey benech.




Commentary:

wheat harvest
  In the late spring.

mandrakes
  (Targum; Ibn Ezra; Radak, Sherashim; Josephus). Dudaim in Hebrew, from the word dodim denoting passion or carnal love (Radak, Sherashim; cf. Ezekiel 16:8, 23:17, Proverbs 7:16). It was called this because of its use as an aphrodisiac and fertility potion (Midrash Ne'elam, Zohar 1:134b). The mandrake (mandragora officinarum) is a herb of the beladonna or potato family. It has a thick perenial root, often split down the middle, like the lower limbs of the human body. Stalkless, it has large leaves that straddle the ground and violet flowers (cf. Rashi). In the spring, its yellow fruit, the size of a tomato, ripens. This fruit can have an intoxicating fragrance (Song of Songs 7:14).

The variety found by Reuben was a rare, extinct species that gives off deadly fumes when pulled from the ground (Midrash Aggadah on Genesis 49:14, quoted in Tzeror HaMor as Midrash HaGaluy; Toledoth Yitzchak on Genesis 49:14. Cf Niddah 31a; Josephus, Wars 7:6:3). In the Talmud, there appears to be a dispute as to whether Reuben brought home the violet flowers, the fruits or the roots (Sanhedrin 99b). Other sources indicate that he brought home two fruits (Tzava'ath Yissachar 1:3,5,7; Josephus, Antiquities 1:19:8).

Obviously, the Patriarchs and Matriarchs knew how to use these plants in mystical ways (Genesis 30:37). Still, Rachel did not bear children because of the mandrakes, but because of her prayers (Genesis 30:2, 30:22; cf. Zohar 1:157b). According to one ancient source, Rachel did not eat the mandrakes, but offered them to God (Tzava'ath Yissachar 2:6).





Copyright © 2000 World ORT
Notice: This computer program is protected by copyright law and international treaties. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this program, or any portion of it, may result in severe civil and criminal penalties, and will be prosecuted to the maximum extent possible under the law.