Vayigash

 Serach Seder Cover

Jacob’s descendants
One granddaughter is mentioned
Serach bat Asher

Genesis 46 includes a list of Jacob’s children, and their children. Israel’s wives and daughter Dinah are included. But the only female named among more than 50 grandchildren is Asher’s daughter Serach (46:17) . She is also mentioned among those who left Egypt 250 years later (Numbers 26:46), the only survivor of the generation that had left Canaan. The sages of the Talmud and Midrash wondered about this woman, named without explanation, and found her story in the empty spaces between the lines of Torah.

It was a young Serach who gently broke the news to Jacob that Joseph is still alive. She later identified Moses as the redeemer and helped him to find Joseph’s coffin so the dreamer’s request in Gen 50:25 (“bring my bones up from this place”)  could be fulfilled. Crossing the Sea of Reeds, Serach saw things – the angels and the Divine Presence – that none of the others saw. This connection to the Passover story was inspiration for a Haggadah supplement by Maggid Yitzchak Buxbaum, the cover of which is the image accompanying this post.

Legend has it that Serach died and was buried near the Persian city of Ishfahan (now in Iran), or that perhaps she never died.

 

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