Post 328

Family Counselling, Part 4:
Wrestling with Jacob

BLOGGER: I had a question for you, Jacob.

JACOB: I am ready. What is it?

BLOGGER: Tell me, how do you know that Reuben is your son?

JACOB: What? Reuben? Reuben, this is my son! He is my first born! Why do you ask, “How do I know?”

BLOGGER: Well, I wanted to check.

JACOB: Of course, he is mine.

BLOGGER: And Simeon?

JACOB: Simeon, too, yes, of course, he is my son.

BLOGGER: What about Levi?

JACOB: Levi, yes, he is my son!

BLOGGER: How do you know?

JACOB: What is this questioning? Of course I know. I know!

BLOGGER: But how do you know? Mothers always know, but fathers cannot know in the same way, of course.

JACOB: Levi is mine — these are all mine, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah! And Is’sahar, Zebulun!

BLOGGER: Those are sons of Leah, yes, I know, but paternity is not always so simple.

JACOB: Oh, now you are too close to offence! I know that Leah has always been faithful to me!

LEAH: Here is the first sensible thing I heard out of you.

BLOGGER: And I believe you.

JACOB: What is not to believe?

BLOGGER: But what about these other men, from the maidsĀ of your wives? How can you be sure that they are yours? Were the maids not free to find husbands of their own?

JACOB: But, the sons are mine! I know they are mine! Look at them. Look at their faces! It is my own face! Look at them! How can you say they are not mine? These are all mine: Dan, Nephtali, Gad and Asher. How can you question this?

BLOGGER: Well, the situation was so — wild. I don’t know how anybody could keep track.

JACOB: “Keep track!” I could “keep track.” I knew my own household! How could I not know my own household? It is you who doesn’t understand. For you, this is just names on a paper, but for me — for me this is my own flesh and blood!

BLOGGER: Your own flesh and blood.

JACOB: I dare not give an oath, but I answer you, yes, of course these are my own, my own flesh and blood, every single one of them. And Dinah too.

BLOGGER: An oath is still just words though?

JACOB: Woman, are you in your right mind? Have I not suffered enough through your questions?

BLOGGER: What would you be willing to do to prove that they are yours? I know you cannot show me any documentation or laboratory results.

JACOB: Woman!

BLOGGER: What would you be willing to do to prove that they are yours?

JACOB: For this, what? I can give anything. Anything! I would give my beard and the head wearing this beard for any of my sons. And you tell me, if you are so clever, who would say that, except for a true father? For any one of these, I would give my life.

BLOGGER: Ah, yes, then you must be their true father.

JACOB (with exasperated and dramatic sigh): Finally!

BLOGGER: So you are the father of not only Joseph and Benjamin, but also of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Nephtali, Gad, Asher, Is’sahar, and Zebulun. And Dinah.

JACOB: Yes, yes! Has my story changed, that you ask me everything one hundred times and then one hundred times again? It is amazing I submit myself to such questioning. Your methods, I don’t understand. In fact, as the head of this family, I speak for all of us: none of us understand your questions about paternity.


JACOB: This isn’t all about the coat, is it?