When they came to Goren ha-Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they held there a very great and solemn lamentation; and he observed a mourning period of seven days for his father.
The kings of Canaan and the princes of Yishmael came to Yaakov’s funeral in order to prevent his burial.
However, when they saw Yosef’s crown on the coffin they remembered how Yosef supplied them with food during the famine. They then changed their mind and placed their own crowns on Yaakov’s coffin, as well. There were a total of 36 crowns on Yaakov’s coffin which resembled a field of thorns. As such, the place was named Goren Atad/The field of thorns.
Due to the large crowd expected at Yakov’s funeral, (similar to the funerals of great rabbis nowadays) fifty men were appointed to keep the order and ensure that no one gets hurt.
(Sotah 13a, Rashi, Iyun Yaakov to Ein Yaakov, Meam Loez on Vayechi; Sefer Hayashar)
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Dedicated Today L'iluy Nishmat Shmuel ben Guershon
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