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KMTT - the Torah Podcast

Dec 21, 2023

Vayigash | "Seventy Souls" - Reconsidering the Count, by Rav Yitzchak Etshalom

Q. Who is #70 in the count? Q: Where are all the girls? Q: How did the LXX get to LXXV? 

Parashat Vayigash includes the detailed list of Bnei Yisrael who descended to Egypt, detailed by son, clan and then a total. This list raises three questions - one internal, one intrinsic and one external. The number "70" does not fit the itemized count, which reaches 69 (or, arguably, 68). The lopsided amount of males (67/69) in the list is a statistical improbability which is also challenged by the text. In addition, the LXX (Septuagint) lists five additional descendants of Yaakov and presents a total of 75 (as it does at the beginning of Shemot). We explore all three of these anomalies, beginning with traditional exegetical answers and then proposing an explanation for all three omissions and/or additions. This shiur was given in memory of Rebbetzin Miriam Wise z"l, מרים בת יצחק ורבקה, whose yahrzeit is on ט' בטבת. She was a true inspiration of a student and devotee of Tanakh. יהי זכרה ברוך.

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