A Brief Note on Groundhog Day – Parsha Vayigash

The elements of God’s design for one line of Abraham’s descendants begin to mesh in Parsha Vayigash. He had promised that they would be, at some future point, a great nation, both in reputation and number but, again at some point, they would also live among an alien people, and not in the lands God had promised. There, they would be enslaved and enfeebled. Joseph’s ascendancy to powering Egypt created an opportune environment for the Israelites to settle and begin to expand their ranks. The drought in Canaan gave them reason to go to Egypt. Continue reading

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A Brief Note on Sticky Sagas – Parsha Miketz

In Parsha Lech Lecha the Torah records some of God’s promises to Abraham; that his descendants would be given a land of their own and that they would prosper, be great in numbers and in repute. There was a third promise. One as ominous as it is enigmatic, that Abraham’s descendants would be forced into exile to seek refuge in a land that was not theirs, and where they would be enslaved and brutalized for four hundred years. Unfortunately, Abraham’s kin has not grown into a vast nation and settlement of the promised lands was not proving a successful venture. Continue reading

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A Brief Note on Dramatic Tragedy – Parsha Vayeshev

The saga of Jacob and his sons has the air of brutal honesty; he and his mother deceive Isaac and then he in turn is deceived by his wives to be Leah and Rachel. Moreover, he is deceived by his sons: Reuben, the titled first born, commits the heinous sin of bedding his father’s concubine Bilhah. Continue reading

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A Brief Note on Dishonouring Honour/Honouring Dishonour – Parsha Vayishlach

Honour is a very amorphous concept whose exercise is often guided by very subjective determinants. In Parsha VaYishluch, the idea of honour; what it is and to whom does it belong, is illustrated by two incidents that stand apart from the main narrative. Though somewhat dissimilar, they both reek of false honour and actual dishonour, and prima facie impart messages seemingly at odds with the order of the Torah. Continue reading

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A Brief Note on Loss – Parsha Chaye Sarah

Abraham is one of the great hero’s of the Torah, a brave warrior, a generous host and uncle, and most importantly a loyal and noble man with complete and absolute faith in God. What He said, he heeded; what he was asked to do, he did. Since his call from God to leave his land, his birthplace and his father’s home, he has been cast as a dynamic hero whose numerous exploits and adventures filled the narratives with passion, pride and purpose. Continue reading

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A Brief Note on Angels – Parsha VaYera

It should remain clear that the Torah was written purposefully and very successfully to; inter alia provoke discussion, which leads to more discussion and continual interpretations. In that regard, it has been very successful. These discussions can at times elucidate the distinct schools of thought relating to the interpretations of the words used in the text and the different frames of reference. Continue reading

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A Brief Note on the Good Book – Parsha Lech-Lecha

Traditional commentators shy from labeling the Torah as a book of history or science and reject attempts to describe it as literature, notwithstanding as a reporter of lives lived, challenges met and events unfolding, it most certainly is. Importantly, it advises on identity and purpose. Continue reading

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