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A rabbinic cover up for Reuben?

Hey all,

Question about Bereishit 35:21-22.

I read in my Artscroll Chumash that the sages say that Reuben didn’t actually “lay with Bilhah” he just rearranged Jacob’s bed. Does anyone struggle with rabbinic rewritings like this? There are countless other places were people have tried to write an alternate meaning into a passage, but it’s dismissed as deviating from what’s written in the Torah.

What gives here? Is it impossible to think that Reuben just royally messed up?

submitted by /u/Checo453
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Source: Reditt

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