Israel Rolls the Stone Away

As many of you know, one of my favorite daily studies (outside of Torah Club) is A Daily Dose of Torah from Artscroll. In the Torah Thought for the Day section this past Tuesday there was an interesting concept. It relates the story of when Jacob (although weary from his travels and lack of rest) met Rachel at the well, he was easily able to roll the stone off of the well single-handedly (where it was implied that it took many men to do this). This is interpreted midrashically as a portent of a future event in which the “great stone, symbolic of our sins, which prevents the exile from coming to an end, until Yaakov himself will come and remove it, like one removing a cork from a bottle.

I can easily see this representation in the rolling away of the stone of Yeshua’s burial site. When the stone was rolled away, Yeshua’s resurrection & his work of redemption & triumph over sin and death are realized, as Paul speaks about in 1 Corinthians 15:50-58:

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
(1 Corinthians 15:50-58 ESV)

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2 thoughts on “Israel Rolls the Stone Away”

  1. Any idea what the primary source is on that? Midrash Rabbah has many interpretations, and it mentions the “like removing a cork,” but it doesn’t have the stone being sin or an impediment to the end of exile. Does it have a reference?

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