Up until now the biblical story has been centered in or at least focused on thelandofIsrael. The land has been the pivot of the Patriarchal narrative. Divine promises of its inheritance combined with the forefathers’ attempts to realize and pass on that vision have fueled the story even when the action was taking place somewhere else. The story of Joseph is a turning point; it literally moves the characters out of thelandofIsraeland centers on the unfolding story inEgypt. From the time Jacob joins Joseph until the end of the Pentateuch thelandofIsraelno longer serves as the stage on which events unfold or the focus of the narrative. The questions we will discuss over the next three lessons are: Why? What does this shift in emphasis tell us about the role of the land in our national consciousness? What is the significance of the exile, enslavement and exodus – then and now?
This lesson will discuss the story of Joseph as a prototype of different Diaspora experiences throughout the ages.