Why did the midwife tie a red thread on the hand of the fetus that poked out?


Seforno (in Pasuk 27): It was to identify which came out first. 1 Moshav Zekenim, citing R. Yehudah ha'Chasid - even though in any case, he is not [Yehudah's] Bechor, the custom was that the Bechor of a second wife received a field designated in her Kesuvah, for an extra portion. Also, it is relevant to redeem him from a Kohen for five Shekalim, which depends on Peter Rechem. Twins are prone to get mixed up. 2


Ohr ha'Chayim: She had Ru'ach ha'Kodesh and tied it, without knowing why. She [assumed and] said that he will come out first; the thread proved that it was not so.


Perhaps she suspected that it was a Divine Siman that he stuck out his hand, just like Yakov came out holding Esav's heel (refer to 26:25:1:2). The Bechor was called Peretz because he overtook the one who stuck out his hand (PF)!


It was already known that she will have twins; Refer to 38:25:4:1, 38:28:1:1. (She assumed that the one who stuck out his hand to come out first. Perhaps she tied it now, for after birth she will be busy cutting the umbilical cord... - PF)


Peter Rechem depends on birth, i.e. when the head or majority leaves. It would have sufficed to make a Siman on one baby after full birth! (PF)

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