June 20, 2006

the group of “forefathers,” or “Founding Fathers,” of the Jewish people. They were Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov: grandfather, father and grandson. Both Avraham (Abraham) and Yitzchak (Isaac) had children who were founders of dynasties who opposed the goals and purposes of the Jewish People; namely, Yishmael (Ishmael), son of Avraham, ancestor of the Muslim Civilization, and Esav, ancestor of Amalek and of Rome. But Yaakov, who for this reason is called the “chosen one of the Avot,” had twelve righteous sons. Although each was unique and had faults, ultimately, they were all righteous, and made up the Tribes of Israel, otherwise known as the Tribes of G-d. This set of three great individuals defined the ancestry of the People of Israel. Their lives, activities and contributions are described in the Book of Bereshit (Genesis).