Thursday, December 27, 2012

Parshat Vayechi, 5773/2012 thoughts

Basics here.

I guess the thing that struck me on reading this parshah this time was Yaakov's/Jacob's flat-out statement that he's describing his sons' future to them.  (See B'reshit/Genesis, chapter 49.)  It seems to me that one has only two choices--either one can assume that Yaakov had the gift of prophecy, or one can assume, as I do, that this text was written after the fact.  (See Documentary Hypothesis.)

I'm guessing that the traditional of sitting shiva originated with B'reshit/Genesis, chapter 50, verse 10.

Haftarat Vayechi is 1 Kings 2:1–12, a nasty piece of work--even in death, David took his revenge (via his son Shlomo/Solomon).

My oldies:

"i don't remember where i read this, but some1 suggested that yosef/joseph never took any responsibility for the arrogant behavior that led his brothers 2 hate him. as 4 yaakov/jacob, he was so oblivious 2 his part in his son's disappearance that he perpetuated the crime of favoritism right down 2 the next generation, choosing the younger efrayim/ephraim over the older menashe/manasseh."

"Much has been made of the fact that Yosef never took revenge on his brothers for having sold him into slavery. I'm not impressed. I think that it was quite sufficient revenge for him to know that his brothers owed him their lives and would spend the rest of their days at his mercy."

"I don't recollect having seen any evidence whatsoever in the Torah sheh-BiCh'tav (Written Pentateuch) that Yosef (Joseph) ever told his father Yaakov (Jacob) the truth about his "disappearance," nor can I imagine any possible reason why his brothers would have done so. Yosef could always have said that he hadn't contacted his father because he was first enslaved, then imprisoned, then preoccupied with running Pharaoh's kingdom, all but the last statement having been true. Granted, Yaakov was a smart enough cookie that he may have figured out that there was more to the story, but he may also have been smart enough to conclude that there might be some details that he'd rather not know. As for his brothers' claim, after their father's death, that Yaakov had asked Yosef to forgive them, I think that story was as much of a fabrication as the brothers' initial presentation of Yosef's bloodied cloak."

"Sarah favors her own son, Yitzchak (Isaac) over Hagar's son, Yishmael (Ishmael). Rivka (Rebecca) and Yitzchak play favorites between their sons, with Rivka favoring Yaakov (Jacob), and Yitzchak favoring Esav (Esau). Yaakov favors Yosef (Joseph). Yosef showers his full brother, Binyamin (Benjamin) with more goodies than his half-brothers. Yaakov favors Yosef's younger son, Efraim (Ephraim) over Yosef's older son Menasheh (Mennases). These people never learn. They seem to be oblivious to the generations of envy, and, often, emnity, inpired by all this favoritism."

"My husband and I both noticed that, throughout the book of B’reishit/Genesis, the lion’s share of the attention is paid to the sons (yes, sons) of Léah and Rachel, with short shrift given to the sons of the concubines and the only daughter. This holds true for Yaakov’s deathbed blessings, as well. The “minor players” get mostly one-liners, and Dinah, the only daughter, gets not even a mention."


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