Monday, October 21, 2013

Parashat Vayera, 5774/2013 edition (slightly belated)

Basics here.

New thoughts for this year:

ד יֻקַּח-נָא מְעַט-מַיִם, וְרַחֲצוּ רַגְלֵיכֶם; וְהִשָּׁעֲנוּ, תַּחַת הָעֵץ. 4 Let now a little water be fetched, and wash your feet, and recline yourselves under the tree.

Point of information: Avraham didn't do the foot-washing—the visitors washed their own feet.

. 12 And Sarah laughed within herself, saying: 'After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?'

יג וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה, אֶל-אַבְרָהָם: לָמָּה זֶּה צָחֲקָה שָׂרָה לֵאמֹר, הַאַף אֻמְנָם אֵלֵד--וַאֲנִי זָקַנְתִּי. 13 And the LORD said unto Abraham: 'Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying: Shall I of a surety bear a child, who am old?

יד הֲיִפָּלֵא מֵיְהוָה, דָּבָר; לַמּוֹעֵד אָשׁוּב אֵלֶיךָ, כָּעֵת חַיָּה--וּלְשָׂרָה בֵן. 14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD. At the set time I will return unto thee, when the season cometh round, and Sarah shall have a son.'

טו וַתְּכַחֵשׁ שָׂרָה לֵאמֹר לֹא צָחַקְתִּי, כִּי יָרֵאָה; וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא, כִּי צָחָקְתְּ. 15 Then Sarah denied, saying: 'I laughed not'; for she was afraid. And He said: 'Nay; but thou didst laugh.'

Ya know, the whole story about G-d lying to Avraham to protect his ego by conveniently "forgetting" to mention that Sarah had said that Avraham, too, was old could have been avoided if HaShem had only spoken directly to Sarah in the first place. Why did HaShem have to tell Avraham what Sarah had said?

A word from my husband (speaking from a non-traditional perspective): Since G-d as described in the text goes by the name Elokim when promising Avraham a son, but by the name HaShem when promising Sarah a son, it’s reasonable to assume that the promises come from two different sources among the oral traditions that were combined to form the Bible/TaNaCh.  (See Documentary Hypothesis.)

Genesis Chapter 20 בְּרֵאשִׁית   שָׂרָה אִשְׁתּוֹ. 14 And Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and men-servants and women-servants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife.

Yet again, Avraham profits from having put Sarah in danger.  :(  Grumble, grumble, kvetch and mumble.

You can see last year's Vayera post, and links to (and highlights of) most of my previous Yayera posts here.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 additions:
I can't help quoting some points from some old Vayera posts of mine, because they really express how I feel about this parashah.
" why does Sarah disappear from the text? Where is her reward for having ensured the perpetuation of Avraham's lineage by offering her handmaid as a surrogate mother? Where is her reward for having waited over a decade after the birth of her handmaid's son to have a son of her own? Where is her reward for having saved Avraham's life twice--and enriched him in the process--by allowing herself to be passed off as only his sister and not his wife? Her reward is to have G-d, with her husband's cooperation, threaten the life of her only child? My own midrash: No wonder she dies in the next parshah--if this is her reward, why live?"

Some new thoughts:

This year's thoughts:

I'm not terribly impressed with either Avinu sheh-ba-Shamayim (Our Heavenly Father) or Avraham Avinu (Abraham Our Father) as role models for  fatherhood.  Yishmael/Ishmael was expelled with no means of survival; Yitzchak/Isaac nearly had his throat slit.  Is either "father" serious about creating and preserving the lives of children? Both G-d and Avraham treat both boys as toys, born only to make a point.  Let's call a spade a spade, folks--in our day, this kind of treatment would be called child abuse, child endangerment, child abandonment, and/or attempted murder.
Nor am I impressed with either G-d's or Avraham's callous indifference to the suffering of Sarah, who seems to be present only to help Avraham acquire greater wealth and to prove that G-d can perform a miracle and enable a barren woman to become pregnant at any age--if and when G-d jolly well feels like it.


Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Sorry, still working on the reformatting. Stay tuned, and, in the interim, please be patient. It's a pain to post on a computer on which the mouse is "frozen" when I type in the "Compose" window and I can't make corrections except by back-spacing and deleting. Obviously, the Genesis Chapter 20 entry that follows the Documentary Hypothesis link is supposed to be the beginning of a new paragraph. Round 2 tonight, if I have time--I already made most of the corrections last night, but I missed that one.

Tue Oct 22, 12:12:00 PM 2013  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I'm still having fun with the formatting, even here on my home computer. I have no idea why there's an extra line at the bottom of this newly-expanded post, nor do I have any idea how to delete it.

Wed Oct 23, 09:42:00 PM 2013  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I also have no idea why I'm getting line breaks before links, even on my *home* computer.

Thu Oct 24, 10:02:00 AM 2013  

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