Archive | November, 2012

No, what he actually said…

20 Nov

Once again, short of time…but, moving to Toledot, this week’s portion… here is a thought on Genesis 27, vv 19 and 24.  Here we have the episode where Jacob robs his brother of his father’s blessing.  You might possibly think this doesn’t put J in a very good light.
v 19: Jacob said to his father, “I; Esau your first-born; I have done as you told me”

this is my own translation, to fit in with Rashi, who reads it thus: “I am the one who is bringing you your meal, and Esau is your firstborn”.  The point is made again on v 24

v24: And he said, ” You are that one, my son Esau?”  and he said, ‘I [am]”.  Rashi says, ‘And he said, “I am”.  He did not say, “I am Esau”; just “I am”.
So there it is – Jacob does not actually tell a bare-faced lie to his visually-challenged father.
Rashi apparently draws on the medieval ‘Bereshit Rabbati’ and on ‘Tanchuma Yashan’, no I haven’t read either text.

Happy thanksgiving, and wear your glasses at all times when someone offers you food…


VAYERA…pass the salt!

4 Nov

I did have various notes on the intervening parashiyyot, but nothing I felt compelled to post…and now I’m moving on to this week’s parshah, and wishing I hadn’t had to reread that story about Lot offering his daughters up to the people of Sodom, the which tale fills me with fury.  Don’t you just long to throw Lot out of the window?

Anyway, here is just a silly thing.  Why, you may wonder, is Lot’s wife turned to salt in particular? (Gen. 19:26).  Well, Genesis Rabba, aka Bereshit Rabba has the answer.  ‘because, R. Isaac said, she sinned through salt.  On the night that the angels visited Lot, Lot said to his wife, “Give these guests a bit of salt.”  But she replied, “is it your wish to introduce into Sodom another vile custom [that of seasoning their food] [eh?] ” What did she do? She went around among all her neighbours, saying to each, “Give me salt – we have guests,” intending thereby to have the townspeople become aware of the presence of guests in her home [and penalize Lot for it]. Hence, “she herself  became a pillar of salt”.  In a nutshell, this evidently appears a bit differently in different editions, but anyway I see no explanation from my brief foray as to why using salt should be frowned upon….anyway, point appears to be that she didn’t do as told, but tried to cause problems for Lot, and therefore when she further chose to look back  – she got her commeuppance…er…Merriam Webster spells commeuppance this way, looks odd to me…