Larchmont Temple Chevra Torah

Questioning faith in the parsha

Monthly Archives: November 2010

Vayishlach Overview

Parashah Overview (Vayishlach, Genesis 32:4-36:43)

  • Jacob prepares to meet Esau. He wrestles with a “man,” who changes Jacob’s name to Israel. (32:4-33)
  • Jacob and Esau meet and part peacefully, each going his separate way. (33:1-17)
  • Dinah is raped by Shechem, the son of Hamor the Hivite, who was chief of the country. Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi take revenge by murdering all the males of Shechem, and Jacob’s other sons join them in plundering the city. (34:1-31)
  • Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin and is buried in Ephrah, which is present-day Bethlehem. (35:16-21)
  • Isaac dies and is buried in Hebron. Jacob’s and Esau’s progeny are listed. (35:22-36:43)

VaYeshev: The Remez

V.29-30: Reuben returned to the pit, and behold, the boy was gone. So he rent his garments, returning to his brothers, saying: “The boy is gone; now where can I go?”

RASHI: Not “Where can I go find him?” but “Where can I flee from my father’s grief?”

RALBAG: How can I appear before father without even a trace of Joseh’s corpse to prove he is dead? Jacob will hold on to the hope that Joseh is still alive and make me search for him.

HIRSCH: Instead of ‘eylech—go’ Reuben used the word ‘bah—come.’ This word has the connotation of belonging, expressing his feeling that, with Joseph gone, there will be no way he can ‘come home.’

V.32 Then they took Joseph’s tunic; slaughtered a young goat, and dipped the tunic in the blood. They had the [ornamented] tuni sent and brought to their father saying: We foudn this. Take a look. Is it your son’s coat, or not?”

OrHaCHAYIM: The dipping of Josph’s coat was a respose to Reuben’s outburst inasmuch as it provided him the evidence….Otherwise, Jacob would have sent him, as the firstborn, to the very ends of the earth to find his apparently still-living son.

RASHI: ‘s’ir izim—a  young male goat’ for its blood most closely resemembles human blood.

MUNK: There is another reason the goat is chosen, one concealed behind the moment. Jacob may have received divine approval for the blessings, but he nonetheless tricked his father by putting goatskins on his hands and arms. Here, Jacob suffers the consequences of that act, as he, too, was tricked by goatskins sent by his son. And the great terror which overtook him with the question his sons ask: Is it your son’s coat or not?”  reflects the question asked in anguish by his own father, “Are you indeed my son Esau, or not?”

 

Fable of the Goat

Parsha Vayeishev                                                 About S.Y. Agnon

The tale is told of an old man who groaned from his heart. The doctors were sent for, and they advised him to drink goat’s milk. He went out and bought a she-goat and brought her into his home. Not many days passed before the goat disappeared. They went out to search for her but did not find her…..

Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors

This is how one of our super-commentators (Irv etc) would post their thoughts. This is a test to see if it stays with the page.

Vayeishev Overview

Parashah Overview (Genesis 37:1-40:23)

  • Jacob is shown to favor his son Joseph, whom the other brothers resent. Joseph has dreams of grandeur. (Genesis 37:1-11)
  • After Joseph’s brothers had gone to tend the flocks in Shechem, Jacob sends Joseph to report on them. The brothers decide against murdering Joseph but instead sell him into slavery. After he is shown Joseph’s coat of many colors, which had been dipped in the blood of a kid, Jacob is led to believe that Joseph has been killed by a beast. (Genesis 37:12-35)
  • Tamar successively marries two of Judah’s sons, each of whom dies. Judah does not permit her levirate marriage to his youngest son. She deceives Judah into impregnating her. (Genesis 38:1-30)
  • God is with Joseph in Egypt until the wife of his master, Potiphar, accuses him of rape, whereupon Joseph is imprisoned. (Genesis 39:1-40:23)

Vayeishev Overview

Parashah Overview (Vayeishev, Genesis 37:1-40:23)

  • Jacob is shown to favor his son Joseph, whom the other brothers resent. Joseph has dreams of grandeur. (Genesis 37:1-11)
  • After Joseph’s brothers had gone to tend the flocks in Shechem, Jacob sends Joseph to report on them. The brothers decide against murdering Joseph but instead sell him into slavery. After he is shown Joseph’s coat of many colors, which had been dipped in the blood of a kid, Jacob is led to believe that Joseph has been killed by a beast. (Genesis 37:12-35)
  • Tamar successively marries two of Judah’s sons, each of whom dies. Judah does not permit her levirate marriage to his youngest son. She deceives Judah into impregnating her. (Genesis 38:1-30)
  • God is with Joseph in Egypt until the wife of his master, Potiphar, accuses him of rape, whereupon Joseph is imprisoned. (Genesis 39:1-40:23)

Overview: No’ach (Genesis 6:9-11:32)

Parashah Overview

  • God decides to cause a flood that will destroy the world, sparing only Noah’s family and the animals that Noah gathers together on the ark. (6:9-8:22)
  • Life starts over again after the Flood. The Noahide Commandments are listed, and God uses a rainbow to make a symbol of the first covenant. (9:1-17)
  • People start to build a city and the Tower of Babel. God scatters the people and gives them different languages to speak. (11:1-9)
  • The ten generations from Noah to Abram are listed. (11:10-29:2)

REMEZ: Dialogue of the Centuries – Reclaiming Culture/Connection

D’RASH: Fractured Landscape, Refracting Contemporary Life

DARA HORN: From “Babarians At the Gate”, excerpted from In the Image, 2002, winner of the National Jewish Book Award and the 2003 Reform Judaism Prize for Jewish Fiction, founded by Dr. Alex Mauskop of Larchmont Temple.

No’ach 5771: REMEZ

Ch6, V 11: The earth became corrupt before God; the earth was filled with lawlessness.

RASHI: “VaTiSHaCHeT” — that is the language of sexual immorality… “ChaMaS,the word means robbery, though in other forms, it is simply injustice.

SARNA: The universal corruption is further defined as “chamas.” This term parallels “no justice” in Job. 19:7, and is elsewhere the syonym of falsehood, deceit and bloodshed.

IBN EZRA: “lifnei HaElohim” –that is, they gtransgressed brazenly like a servant who defiantly sins in the presence of his master and is not afraid. Chamas is taking by force, in this case, wives.

HERTZ: “Chamas” — Ruthless outrage of the rights of the weak by the strong.

WOMEN’S COMMENTARY: In the Babylonian flood stories, the gods are angry at humankind because people have become a nuisance, disturbing the peace. Genesis, instead, makes unchecked human violence the reason for God’s drastic action of wiping out all living creatures — returning the world to primeval chaos.

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