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View Diary: D'var Torah: Vayeshev (Golden Child, Scapegoat, Rebel, Hero, and Mascot) (59 comments)

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  •  The ramifications are far-reaching (2+ / 0-)
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    Eowyn9, ramara

    When Israel received the law from Moses among the 613 mitzvot is this:

    Lev 18:18 NIV Do not take your wife's sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living.

    Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

    by awesumtenor on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 11:09:37 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Brilliant advice! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mettle fatigue

      Did Yahweh come up with that, or did Moses just sneak that one in?

      •  from the literary viewpoint, it's probly difficult (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eowyn9, ramara

        to assess at what point in judaic pre-history the sociologic and psychologic observations of generation upon generation resulted in some leadership person introducing the precept.  

        the canon is extremely rich in evidence of keen observation of and deep thought into human behavior, also regarding natural phenomena and technologic cause&effect.  by interesting contrast, at many points in western civilization's history, the retrospective viewpoint often appears rooted in the notion that the further back in time the worse the capacity of the human being to observe, hypothesize, test, and conclude, re-observe, refine hypothesis, etc.

        from a religious viewpoint, i don't think i've previously heard of a notion of canonical construction that g-d wrote and then moshe edited and added, which seems to be the idea behind your comment.

        of course, if "moses" in your comment means all subsequent adherents of judaism,  that's an interesting notion of the evolution of the material.

    •  Maybe God realized (4+ / 0-)

      that the relationship between sisters is worth preserving after seeing the damage the rivalry between Leah and Rachel made between them.

      I do have a new mission - making Leah come before Rachel when we name the matriarchs. She was the first wife, and also is the wife whose children named the tribes that survived the diaspora - Judah and Levi primarily.

      Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

      by ramara on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 06:52:46 PM PST

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      •  that's interesting. how was the sequence (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ramara

        first decided, i wonder? or has it changed? as i read your comment, the phrase, "b'zchut sara, rebecca, rachel v'leah" ran 'thru my mind and i was thinking, "that's odd".  it appears that they are listed in the order in which the patriarchs thought/intended to marry them, what with laban perpetrating the sister substitution upon yakov.

        •  When I was a child (1+ / 0-)
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          mettle fatigue

          Leah wasn't even included among them; I'm not sure when she was added, but was given last place I think because she was added last. It's time she took her rightful place.

          Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

          by ramara on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 12:25:54 AM PST

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          •  I had no idea Leah was ever not included at all. (3+ / 0-)
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            mettle fatigue, ramara, Eowyn9

            How long ago was that?  I'm wondering if there are regional differences at work here.

            •  navyvetterp said about this on Saturday,3:33pm (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ramara
              •  Yes, I saw that (3+ / 0-)
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                Navy Vet Terp, mettle fatigue, Eowyn9

                but not til after I had written my comment. Both may indeed be true, you know. The Sim Shalom prayer book came later, and we didn't use it. Including the matriarchs was not yet even optional, nor were women yet equal in the services when I was a child.

                Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

                by ramara on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 02:21:59 PM PST

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            •  I'm 65 (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mettle fatigue

              and I grew up in the Bronx. Went to Sunday school a couple of years til I was about 10 - but continued to attend for High Holiday services til I graduated high school in 1964.

              And you?

              Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

              by ramara on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 02:14:31 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  me 66, NY age 4-9, CA next, parents orthodox born (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ramara

                & raised, father a talmudic aetheist activistly secularist (him born 1909), mother (b1915) affiliated Conservative but career mostly in orthodox venues.  my jewish education was begun before age 3 because my mother teaching dayschool kindergarten was allowed to shlep me along (babysitters unaffordable),and was generally intense, broad, eclectic, not tending to expertise in any particular area, and continued as my means allowed [i.e., after highschool erratic as i could only occasionally afford classes] with mostly disorderly reading until physical disabilities entrained some learning disabilities about 16 yrs ago.  i was sort of trying to study ladino at the time...

                despite being aware from very early age that i was in an era of tremendous political/social change (my parents had a predilection for picket lines, demonstrations, local action meetings & involvements, etc - with me in the stroller with them, again because babysitters unaffordable), i didn't realize until my early or mid30s how much judaism was evolving too and that most labels (e.g., "orthodox") were waaay less descriptive than my extended family experience & educ'n had led me to think.  it's always fascinating!

                •  Funny (1+ / 0-)
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                  mettle fatigue

                  I've been thinking of you as perhaps 10 years younger than you are...

                  Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

                  by ramara on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 07:21:03 PM PST

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                  •  the 1/2-life nature of some disabilities does that (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ramara

                    because of so often walking around in a fog due to cognitive impact - it feels like at most 8 or 9 years since the floor went out from under me for good'n'all, but in fact it's just about 18 yrs now.

              •  I'm 38, and grew up Orthodox in Seattle. (2+ / 0-)
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                Navy Vet Terp, Eowyn9

                Reading further comments here, I think I've found the discrepancy -- I was thinking of the blessing to children, where one says to daughters "May God make you like Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah."  Leah's been included there since at least my mother's childhood.

                And I have been sadly ignorant of the history of the inclusion of the Matriarchs in the Amidah, since Orthodox liturgy still doesn't.

      •  The Conservative Rabbinat debated this (3+ / 0-)
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        mettle fatigue, Eowyn9, ramara

        When they decided to add the matriarchs into the first paragraph of the amidah.  Our rabbi, who helped compile and edit the Sim Shalom II prayer bood, insisted that Rachel go first because the only place in the Torah where the 4 matriarchs are mentioned together, Rachel is first.

        "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

        by Navy Vet Terp on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 03:33:23 PM PST

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        •  thnx for the clarification. my mom being orthodox, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ramara

          or rather raised orthodox & a master-teacher in orthodox dayschools most of her lengthy career, was herself conservative by shul affiliation.  there were some tfilot she recited at shabat & other times that had that "b'zchut" phrase, tfilot i assumed were orthodox in origin because she brought each of them (on paper) back with her after trips to Israel for continuing professional education seminars she attend from about 1963 to the mid 1970s.  the seminars themselves were not specifically orthodox, 'tho (the two i remember from the '70s were archaeology and music), so i don't really know their origin.

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