Sunday, January 08, 2006

VaYigash II:Avraham's Eishel

Chazal mention that the resason Yaakov went to Be'er Sheva before heading down to Mitzrayim was in order to take the eishel of Avraham with him. This eishel was then brought out of Mitzrayim and used to build the mishkan.
When I metioned this to my son, I told him that the gemara in Sota (10a) has a machlokes what exactly this eishel was. One opinion is that Avraham planted an orchard for people to eat from. Another opinion is that it was a hotel where guests could stay. My son then asked me an obvious question. If the eishel was a hotel, how did Yaakov "chop" it down and take it to Mitzrayim? If you say it was an orchard so then it makes sense. Yaakov uprooted the trees and replanted them in Mitzrayim and when they left Mitzrayim the trees were cut down and made into wooden beams for the mishkan. But if the eishel wasa hotel, what exactly happened? Did Yaakov take the hotel apart and store the wood somewhere for the next couple hundred years?
I have no answer. The only answer I can think of is that the opinion that holds the eishel was a hotel does not hold that Yaakov brought it down to Mitzrayim.
Any other answers?

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