Pre-Game Chatter: Is there an experience in your life you wish you could forget? Why do you think you’re unable to forget it?
As Joseph starts a family in Egypt shortly after becoming the Pharaoh’s chief adviser, he claims that his past in Canaan is completely behind him:
The Pitch: “Joseph named the first-born Manasseh, meaning, ‘God has made me forget completely my hardship and my parental home.’” – Genesis 41:51
Swing #1: “Implicitly, the word [nashani, the root of Manasseh’s name] suggests dislocation, the discontinuity of a leap into a new place, a new mode of being. There is a clenching, a shrinking, a contraction. The rupture of experience that sets Joseph at a radical distance from his previous life has the virtue of allowing him to concentrate totally on the imperative of his new condition.” – Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, Genesis: The Beginning of Desire
Swing #2: “Joseph was now an Egyptian through and through, and he no longer was haunted by dreams of being abandoned by his brothers nor of his journey to Egypt on the slave caravan which had stayed with him for years.” – Norman J. Cohen, Self, Struggle & Change
Swing #3: “God granted me so much wealth and power that God enabled me to forget all the problems and setbacks I had experienced, and God has even made me forget all the members of my father’s household.” – Radak
Late-Inning Questions: Do our commentators seem to think Joseph has completely forgotten growing up in his family? Or, perhaps, is Joseph simply wishing that he could? Is it possible that Joseph remembers the good aspects of his childhood but forgets when his brothers had sold him into slavery? What are the benefits and risks of forgetting our past experiences?
On-Deck at Emanu-El: We are so proud of our annual Hanukkah tradition known as the “Night of Giving”, taking place this year on Sunday, December 29th, at 6:00PM. Join us at Publix in West Ashley, Mount Pleasant, or Summerville to light the first Hanukkah candles of the holiday, and then purchase a bag of non-perishable groceries to give to the Kosher Food Pantry. It’s a great way to celebrate by giving back.
The Big Inning at the End: Speaking of forgetting our history, sometimes baseball teams try too hard to put the past behind them. Exhibit A: Disco Demolition Night, July 12, 1979, when Chicago White Sox fans were allowed to buy discount doubleheader tickets in exchange for a disco album. The collected albums were blown up on the field after the first game, causing a riot that forced the White Sox to forfeit the second game.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Hanukkah!