Gen. 24:48 — ואברך את יהוה אלהי אברהם אשר הנחני בדרך אמת
Deut. 6:6-7 — והיו הדברים האלה אשר אנכי מצוך היום על לבבך ודברת בם בלכתך בדרך
Acts 24:14 — אני מודה כי אני בדרך ההיא אשר יקבוה מפלגה בה אני עובד את אלהי אבותינו וכי אני מאמין בכל הכתוב בתורה ובנביאים



Parashat Miketz פרשת מקץ

I finished reading the parasha for this week, and felt compelled to write a short entry about it. This parasha, "miketz", is probably one of my most favorite portions to read. Every year when I read it strikes more for its simplicity, yet complexity in regard to the several story lines, such as Yosef's relationship with his brothers. I'm affected every time I read about Yosef crying, and I myself want to cry for the overwhelming emotions involved. As I read the parasha, I am hooked as if reading a modern thriller, wanting to read more and more, as if I have not read it dozens of times already!

I could write a whole essay on the beauty of this story, the lessons we can learn about human nature. Before our very eyes we see the maturity of Yosef, who began as a little spoiled and perhaps even bratty, to a strong, humble man in control over a vast kingdom. He never sought revenge on those who harmed him, and even forgave his brothers, who sought to kill him, but were "satisfied" to only sell him into slavery. We also get to see the change in his brothers, which is no less remarkable.

One note about the style of the Biblical narrative. I noticed during this reading that Yehuda tells his father that they told about Binyamin (ch. 43, v. 7) because the ruler (Yosef) asked if they had another brother. Odd enough in the account that is given to us in chapter 42 it seems as if they volunteer the information to Yosef. First of all, it is possible that Yehuda was lying to Ya'akov to cover themselves- a very feasible answer. Nonetheless, I think it gives a witness to the unique style in these stories, which do not claim to be giving a full, detailed account. There's a brevity in the narration, which leaves us wanting for more a times, but also allows us to imagine and fill in possibilities for ourselves. I am sure that the complexity in the human interactions was no different than those today, as we know there is nothing new under the sun.

I may have finished reading the parasha for this year, but I'm excited about reading it again next year!

1 comment:

  1. Nice points! I definitely agree that the narration style is "condensed". It is hard or impossible to know from the summary account in ch. 42 whether the conversation in Egypt actually took place as later reported by the brothers in ch. 43. One thing the narrative does communicate to me is the expected emotions that we could all imagine at such a time. Tension is running high - food is running low - one brother is in prison in Egypt (already the second of them to suffer this fate) - another brother is in danger... and Ya'aqov lashes out a little in his worry and pain and frustration. The brothers try to defend themselves just as they tried to defend themselves in front of Yosef (when they did not recognize him): trying to say something that will show their innocence. "What were we supposed to do?!" And so forth.

    Here is one other example of similar compactness in the narrative of בראשית. Sometimes people look at the story in Gen. 3 and point to Khava's statement that God said not even to touch the tree in the middle of the garden. In ch. 2, this is not mentioned; so some say that she added this command herself. But in fact we don't know that at all. God may have told them not to touch the tree; just it wasn't recorded (like so much else) in the earlier part of the text. Hence it's always necessary to be very careful with interpretation.