Did We Forget Anything?: Vayigash 2017 (2)

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: Have you ever left something important behind while traveling? What kinds of problems ensued? Were you able to remedy the problem somehow?

In our Torah portion this week, Jacob moves from Beer-sheba to Egypt, knowing this will probably be the final move of his lifetime:

The Pitch: “So Jacob set out from Beer-sheba. The sons of Israel put their father Jacob and their children and their wives in the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to transport him; and they took along their livestock and the wealth that they had amassed in the land of Canaan. Thus Jacob and all his offspring with him came to Egypt: he brought with him to Egypt his sons and grandsons, his daughters and granddaughters—all his offspring.” – Genesis 46:5-7

Swing #1: “One can see that [the verses that follow] is a subsequent appendage from the minor inconsistency that verse 7 mentions daughters and granddaughters while the list itself mentions only one daughter and one granddaughter.” – Gerhard von Rad, Genesis

Swing #2: “The patriarch is reassured that his departure from Canaan is not contrary to the divine plan but, in fact, in keeping with it … the transportation, finally, is furnished by Pharaoh.” – E.A. Speiser, Genesis

Swing #3: “What he had amassed in Paddan-aram, [Jacob] gave it all to Esau for his share in the Cave of Machpelah. [Jacob] said, ‘Possessions of outside the Land are not worthwhile for me.’” – Rashi

Late-Inning Questions: According to our commentators, which items (and/or people) are most valuable to Jacob? How is this reflected in what he brings? In your journeys, how far are you willing to go to keep what you value the most close to you?

On-Deck at Emanu-El: I’m excited to offer a class on Torah trope beginning Tuesday, January 9th, at 7pm. Please let me know if you’re interested in learning the ins and outs of the symbols of Torah reading, which will enable you to learn any portion.

The Big Inning at the End: With Evan Longoria traded to the Giants, the two Florida Major League teams are bereft of star power. Are changes like these cyclical, or is there real concern about the future of baseball in that region?

Shabbat Shalom!