Interfaith Toldot

Discussion in 'Interfaith Parsha Project' started by dauer, Nov 27, 2005.

  1. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Genesis 25:19 - 28:9

    Isaac's story is pretty much over. This parsha opens with the births of Jacob and Esau. What is going on with their wrestling in the womb? Why does the younger continue to triumph over the older? Why is Esau so hairy at birth? Why is Jacob grabbing his heel? Is it possible to answer these questions without straying far from the text, or does the text itself offer very few clues of its own?

    Jacob dwelled in tents, does this mean that he was always among the women? How would this affect his upbringing and maturation? How is this different from Esau? Jacob cooks. Isn't this a woman's job? What does this say, that the future father of the Israelite people is womanlike, and favored by his mother and not his father? What does that favoring say about his mother and about his father, and the wisdom of each? Why does Esau sell his birthright for pottage? Is he really going to die if he doesn't eat pottage? Why is Jacob being such a trickster? Is this a noble trait?

    Dauer
     
  2. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    dauer - I'm going to get back to this one but I just wanted to respond to one of your questions .... why was Jacob a trickster and is this a nobel trait? There are tricksters in many traditions, the coyote is a trickster in the native american tradition (at least some of them) and the demi-god Maui is a trickster in many traditions throughout the south pacific, including hawaii .... they are all shape-changers and show us more than one side of ourselves as well as the story .... it is a nobel trait and we will see this in Jacob.


    In my copy there is an interesting commentary on the names of Esau and Jacob ....

    "25 ruddy, like a hairy mantel .... Esau .... there is an odd displacement of etymology in the naming sentence, perhaps because the writer was not sure what "Esau" actually meant. "Ruddy," ' adom, refers to another name for Esau, Edom (as in verse 30) and the "hairy" component of the mantel simile, se'ar, refers to Edom's territory, Seir.

    26 they called his name Jacob. The Masoretic Text has a singular verb, but some manuscript versions have the plural, as when the same phrase is used for Esau. In this instance, the etymology is transparent: Ya'aqob, "Jacob" and 'aqeb, "heel" The grabbing of the heel by the younger twin becomes a kind of emblem of their future relationship, and the birth .... again invokes the struggle against primogeniture. The original meaning of the name Jacob was probably something like "God protects" or "God follows after." (Robert Altar commentary)

    the struggle between twins in a recurring theme in many traditions and is at the heart of understanding the inner path of knowledge and wisdom .... they are the balancing principals .... in the Hopi tradition, the twin brothers guard the north and south poles and send vibrations to each other along the earth's axis, they keep the earth rotating .... they say that when the twins stop fighting, the fourth world will stop turning and it will be a time for great changes..... the story of Jacob and Esau will be told on several levels and one of the most important in my estimation .... Esau and Jacob are the embodiment of the cosmic twinship of "tohu" and "tikkun" (the world of chaos and correction) .... they are the vessels of light constructed differently .... Esau is the raw, untamed energy of tohu, Jacob the correct and orderly world of tikkun .... the challenge is to bring together the best of both worlds (The Cosmic Twins a parshah overview by Yanki Tauber at Chabad.org) this is a very powerful parsha ..... aloha nui, poh
     
  3. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    i find it interesting that the firstborn is not always the chosen son & have to wonder why that is. i wonder if that is to show us that if we dont want to be mature & accept the blessing God has for us, He will find someone else that will accept the blessing?

    [​IMG]

    and this too:

    Firstborn and birthright derive from the same root, and blessing has the same consonants, with the second and third reversed. Rebekah, who loves Jacob over Esau, has a name suspiciously close to these central terms.


    Table 2.2 Birthright and Blessing ComplexTranslationHebrew WordHebrew Root Consonants
    Firstbornbekor b-k-r
    Birthrightbekorah b-k-r
    Blessingberakah b-r-k
    Rebekahrivkah r-b-q
     
  4. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    i cant really say Jacob was being a trickster here, and i am thinking that he & his mother must have seen something that Isaac would not have seen & that is, the blessing may have been of no good (wasted) if it had been given to Esau. i think we still see this literal problem even today when parents grow old & certain family members have an agenda to 'get & squander' the inheritance before others are aware, where other siblings would not take advantage of their parents & it means something to them.

    i remember a few years back when the church i belong to was being passed down to the twin brothers. the third & oldest brother never really had an interest in the church while the twins ran the services & became involved in all of it. so what happened was, the twins decided amonst themselves who would become bishop & who would become the assistant Pastor. this was really neat because neither of them argued about it & the younger twin wanted the older twin to become Pastor, yet they both work together so well, as if they are one person with one mind, thus giving them strength to lead the church into the new millenium.:)

    there sure are a lot of questions here that i will be thinking about & need to read the whole passage again before i add any more.:)
     
  5. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Poh,

    I knew you'd pick up on my trickster reference. But I also know that you'll be able to see that archetype much better than me so I can't wait to see what you develop with him.

    Bandit,

    I've always found the favoring of the younger son to be curious. I wonder if it could be a way of saying that birthright shouldn't be determined by order of birth at all, like a way of getting rid of the old system, that now birthright should be determined based on the merits of the individual.

    I think Rivka definitely saw something in Jacob, but why couldn't he have gotten the birthright some other way? Maybe this is how the neck moves the head, that is, how Rivka was operating behind the scenes to effect her husband, because she couldn't just go up to him. Jacob does seem very womanly based on his activities early on, so maybe he's the voice of the woman in this case. But what about faith in God's plan? Or is this actually saying that we should act for what is best without waiting for God?
     
  6. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    not sure what other way because it seems esau sold his own birthright for pottage. now even if he did repent i would have to ask what kind of repentance is that when he turns around and wants to kill Jacob for his own mistake.? just to get the birthright back.


    Romans 9:10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;
    9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
    9:12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
    9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

    here you can see that God loved esau less & loved jacob more so there must have been a good intent, even though it appears to be trickery by Jacob & his mom. not sure what other way they could have done it. i am thinking there is just some common sense here though i never really noticed that Jacob was a mamas boy until now.:) so there you have the wife turning the neck of the husband, that is for sure. so it seems Jacob was wicked & Esau was foolish.

    i also think there is a difference in the birthright & the blessing & the birthright included double portion of inheritance. Jacob had the birthright but was now going for the blessing because he knew there would be no changes made later. so Jacob realy got the birthright fair & square BUT- he had no right going in & stealing Esaus blessing IMO. that is where Jacob was in the wrong.

    Jacob suffered the lie about the death of Joseph his favorite son, (here we see the youngest son in the picture again & there was jeolosy from the other brothers)...Jacob lost all contact with his mother & was tricked repeatedly by his uncle & he spent years living in fear of being murdered by his brother- so he indeed suffered some consequences from sin. but, i think God was seeing down the road that Jacob would be a changed man & would carry the line of the righteous seed from Abraham to Jesus & we see this later in the next chapters.

    i think what it is showing is even though there may be two brothers who are both guilty of something, it reminds us that it is possible to change & become a better person, realizing there are truth & dares, truth & lies & both have consequence, OR just remain the same old grouchy evil person with no intent on ever changing for the better.

    i think there are times when yes, we should do what we feel is best especially if we dont know of a better way or have a better answer, then maybe that is what God is trying to say to us, even though it may appear that what we are doing may not be in His perfect will.

    hope that all makes sense!:)
     
  7. PersonaNonGrata

    PersonaNonGrata CODinside

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    why the firstborns are never the chosen ones btw?
     
  8. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    persona,

    we were trying to figure that out.

    bandit,

    that's a good point about birthright vs blessing. But if the birthright is not the blessing, then what is the birthright and how does one acquire it?

    I want to move forward a little. What's going on with this passage up next, another one, with a patriarch going to a foreign land claiming his wife is his sister?

    Dauer
     
  9. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    when was it that first sons were sacraficed or killed .... is there any connection with this as a possible fear ???? in the south pacific (in some cultures that are referred to by anthropologists as matriarchal .... although I don't like the term) the path of power is always passed through the sister(female) and on to one of the sister's sons .... the purpose of this is to lessen absolute control .... if a man passes power on to his first son, etc.... the rule becomes absolute and power can easily be abused or consolidated .... if power is passed on through the sister, the one that has it must use it wisely so that it will come back with the same consideration (it is a cycle that minimizes abuse of power) .... so I'm wondering if passing power or knowledge or whatever on to a second son would have the same effect as passing power on to the son of a sister???? aloha nui, poh


    p.s. of course after new forms of social organization were introduced by outsiders, this ancient process was not used again and power on these small islands can be as abusive as other nations .... too bad, the old way had merit ....
     
  10. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Poh,

    modern scholars sometimes say that child sacrifices used to be done at one time by Israelites but I don't know during what time. I'm not sure I see the connection.

    On what you said about lessening power, maybe that's it. But isn't there a difference, in that the social order demands that the oldest should be heir? And if it goes through the younger son, isn't it a little different than through the sister? Doesn't the power still stay in the family?

    Dauer
     
  11. PersonaNonGrata

    PersonaNonGrata CODinside

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    first ones are blueprints
     
  12. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    chapter & verse please:) ?
     
  13. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    maybe the first ones are for one blueprint when you put them all together it makes one blueprint.
    but a blueprint for what? something later on?:)
     
  14. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    actually dauer I have never heard about Israelites and child sacrifices, I was thinking more about other cultures and people .... if there was any connection or fear about passing authority or power on to the first born ....

    I was looking at Jacob's journey in the Zohar .... and of course the name Jacob later becomes known as Israel ....

    "The secret of this secret:
    First he attained the End of Thought,
    the Elucidation of the Written Torah.
    She is the oral Torah, called Be'er,
    as it is said:
    Moses began be'er, to explain, the Torah" (Deut 1:5)
    She is a be'er, a well and an explanation
    of the one who is called Sheva, Seven,
    as it is written:
    "It took him sheva, seven, years to build it" (1 Kings 6:38)
    Sheva is the mIghty Voice,while the End of Thought is Be'er Sheva."

    So Jacob will enter the gateway to faith. Adhering to that faith, he had to be tested in the same place his father had been tested, entering in peace and emerging in peace.

    Adam and Noah entered but were not careful and did not emerge in peace.

    Abraham entered and emerged, Isaac entered and emerged and from there he went up to Be'er Sheva. Jacob enteres and after many trials is saved and emerges .... when he is saved he is perfectged and is raised to a perfect sphere and called Israel. He becomes the central pillar.

    Is it possible that the second sibling is related to the right and left column of the ten sefirot which help to maintain the balance? "The right and left arms of God, two sides of divine personality: free-flowing love and stgricrt judgement, grace and limitation. Both are necessary for the world to function. Ideally balance is achieved, symbvolized by the central sefirah, Tif'eret (Beauty also called Rahamin Compassion).

    shekhinah is the opening to the Divine and "one who enters must enter through this gate" (Zohar 1:7b) .... the path is not easy. Divine will can be harsh: Abraham was commanded to sacrifice Isaac in order to balance love with regor. From the Other Side, demonic forces threaten and seduce. Contemplatively and psychologically, evil must be encountered, not evaded. By knowing and withstanding the dark underside of wisdom, Abraham was refined." So is this what happens to Jacob .... he enters and is refined or perfected and raises to become Israel ....???

    aloha nui, poh
     
  15. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    back to the question, why does Isaac refer to Rebekah as his sister instead of his wife ....the commentary in my copy is interesting because it mentions that the sexual threat against the matriarch (Rebekah) is displaced in this final version from the monarch to the local male populate .... in the earlier Abimelech story it is construed as an epithet for the king .... it would make more sense in the original version because the king may have had the right to demand that a wife be shared, perhaps not a sister that was unmarried ....


    and the other side is that if we read the Torah as the stately damsel that beacons to the potential bridegroom (one who becomes familiar with the intimate nature and dialogue of the Torah, where she finally reveals all of her secrets) then the king would play a major role in the layout of the story ....

    also it is suggested that Rebekah is still a virgin bride, so this might also be connected to why he says that she is his sister (as yet she may not be his wife) ....

    and then Isaac "sowed" became powerful, not as a gift from the monarch, but the fruit of his own labor and he grows prosperous in the land which lays the ground for the story of the two brothers struggling over the blessing of land and inheritance which is coming up.

    if one looks at the movement of energy within the body, ultimately what we would seek is a "union" within the center of the brain "the bridal chamber" .... the metaphors carry strongly throughout the text in the juxtaposition of relationships and attemps to conquer ....since the spiralling energy within the body is the merging of male and female energies and it is all our own energy, sometimes it is referred to as brother and sister and not necessarily husband and wife .... so many possibilities ....

    I don't know which is more difficult to dicipher .... the myths and legends filled with violence and war as metaphors or the bible filled with sexual references .... I've never gone through it in this much detail before and it is certainly intriguing to read and contemplate ....

    why do you think the story is described in this way?

    aloha nui, poh
     
  16. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    are we at the part now where Isaac is old and wants to bless his son before he dies .... the words are so "I may solemnly bless you" in English, but the commentary says the Hebrew word (nafshi) literally means "my life-breath may bless you" .... so Isaac is almost blind and he will rely on the sequence of taste, touch and smell (insted of sound) to identify his supposed firstborn .... here we begin to get to the heart of the question about the firstborn .... why is Rebekah so willing to deceive Isaac by concealing the identity of Jacob ? Why do the brothers never speak to each other in the series of dialogues ? Why is Esau so unhappy with the blessing that Isaac bestows on him because he is told that by rebelling he shall break the yoke of his brother from his neck ? As twins, is there really a firstborn ?
     
  17. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    that is kind of what i was trying to say about my Pastor & his twin brother who is assistant & how they work together to achieve so much. but no one seemed to catch that. i dont think there is really a firstborn when you have twins.

    a few minutes just does not seem the same as a few years or even one year.
    makes ya wonder.
     
  18. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    are we at the "stone pillow" part yet .... this is the whole piece on Jacob's ladder which is one of my favorites .... I still use the string figures to make Jacob's ladder (this is from that old game of cat's cradle) and cultures all over the world have this same figure in the strings .... I also have a piece to share on the emerald tablets (which I have mentioned before) because the interpretation of those tablets were suppose to have come after resting on a "stone pillow" .... gotta go for now but will return .... what do others think the "stone pillow" is all about? aloha nui, pohaikawahine
     
  19. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    Hi Poh
    i know we discussed this part before (cant recall where now) & it was pretty cool:) . i guess the thing i like about the string trick, looking back now, are all the different possiblities that can be, with a simple piece of string.
     
  20. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    aloha e bandit ... yes we did discuss the string figures before and they are very universal, some of them cannot even be replicated today they are so complex .... and I also remember your reference to the twins ....


    I think the "stone pillow" is actually in the next parsha, so I'll wait until we get there to get back to the question about the "stone pillow" .... I'm trying to follow both the Zohar and the Torah readings at the same time to see the perspectives within each .... the Zohar does not follow in the same sequence and crosses between many texts so it is difficult to connect to the parsha sequences at times, but I'll keep trying .... I'm also trying to understand the inner meanings of the Song of Songs as it relates to understanding the Torah ...

    Dauer or anyone else .... are there any references to the Macabees in the Torah or any portion .... I know they are referenced in the Apocrypha (which means hidden things), but I am under the understanding that the Apocrypha is not accepted as part of the Torah? I read that Chanukah commerates the victory, through the miracles of HaShem of a small branch of Maccabbes over the Syrian-Greeks who ruled over Ertz Ysrale (the land of Israel) and it is a holiday of renewed dedication. Still trying to understand, poh
     

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