Religion: More Than Jewish

It is one of the treasured stories of biblical cunning. In Genesis, the patriarch Jacob outsmarts his parsimonious uncle Laban while tending Laban's flocks. First he tells Laban to cull all spotted sheep and goats out of the flock for safekeeping, then offers to tend the "monochrome" remainder (white sheep, black goats), taking only spotted offspring as his pay. Laban quickly agrees. Jacob sets about having the animals couple in front of peeled branches. They produce large numbers of spotted offspring, and Jacob becomes rich.

A pious legend? Not necessarily, says Israeli Botanist...

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