Israel has gone the way of Esau. Every news item must be fresh, every piece of information must be distributed immediately, both Peace and Messiah must arrive NOW. Dan Ben David calls for Israel to look beyond Esau’s short-termism, and think more like Jacob about the deeper issues waiting beyond the corner.
Clearly, the roots of our connection to Eretz Yisrael are perceived by the tradition to lie in the experiences of the patriarchs. Abraham’s experience was unique, as the first generation – the founder, the immigrant, the progenitor. The next two generations were already “natives” and provide for us a different kind of model, with some different motifs and issues. This lesson will examine the texts describing Isaac’s and Jacob’s links to the land. As with the preceding lesson, the focus here is on peshat, the plain meaning of the text.
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.