hebrew
1)

Why does the Torah break off the narrative here, to discuss the lineage of Reuven, Shimon and Levi?

1.

Rashi #1, Rashbam #1 and Seforno: It is important at this juncture to present the Yichus of Levi on account of Moshe and Aharon. 1 And it would not have been befitting to begin with Levi, 2 so it begins with Reuven.

2.

Rashi #2 (citing the Pesikta Gedolah) and Rashbam #2 (citing the Mechilta): The Torah makes a point of presenting the lineage of Reuven Shimon and Levi, to demonstrate their importance, since Ya'akov berated them before his death.


1

To tell us why they were chosen to lead Yisrael (Seforno [Refer to to:16:1:1*]).

2

Thereby conveying the impression that Levi had now become the firstborn, in honor of Moshe (Ramban).

2)

Why does the Torah tell how long Levi lived?

1.

Rashi: It enables us to calculate the years of slavery, for it began after the last son of Yakov died, i.e. Levi. 1


1

Riva: Levi lived 94 years in Egypt, so there were 116 years of slavery.

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