Pekudei: Chapter 33

The secret of the camel


Rabbi Yehuda wonders why Rebecca got down from the camel when she saw Isaac coming, and if it was because she saw how beautiful he was. Rabbi Shimon says that when she met Isaac it was Minchah time, during which there is a strict Judgment. She saw that this was symbolized by the camel as the secret of death. Rabbi Shimon explains how the camel (gamal) is like requital (gmulo), and says that the camel is all-devouring and all- exterminating, always ready to work against men, just like judgment and death. He says that the camel brought death into the world by inciting Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. The camel's rider is Samael who came to confuse and bring death to everyone; Adam attracted him and then Samael led them all astray. Therefore Rivkah got off the camel because she saw that Isaac had strict Judgment attached to him. Rabbi Shimon also mentions the dross of gold that is another aspect of strict judgment.