Beginning In the Beginning

Artists Mel and Miriam Alexenberg celebrated their 52nd year of marriage by collaborating on the "Torah Tweets" blogart project. During each of the 52 weeks of their 52nd year, they posted six photographs reflecting their life together with a tweet text that relates the weekly Torah reading to their lives.

Unlike the biblical narrative that begins “In the Beginning,” a blog begins at the end. A blog displays its narrative in reverse chronological order with the most recent post appearing first. This blog was created to reverse the order of the blog posts in the “Torah Tweets” blog to begin in the beginning.

The Alexenbergs invite other couples, individuals, and families to join them celebrating their lives through creating their own spiritual blog.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Genesis 9: Love and Respect

Vayeshev/Settled (Genesis 37:1-40:23)

A man found him blundering about….  The man asked, "What are you looking for?" "I am looking for my brothers" he replied. "Perhaps you can tell me where they are."  (Genesis 37:15,16)

Mel photographed his experience of Jerusalem's Central Bus Station passing through it on his way to teaching at Emuna College.
People rushing in all directions seem to be blundering about looking for their brothers and sisters without finding them.

In everyday Israeli speech, Jews often address each other as ahi (my brother). 
Can we find each other as ahi despite different backgrounds, lifestyles and viewpoints?

Miriam's brother Ezra and his sons-in-law wear the knitted kippot of religious Zionists that are sold in the bus station.
Her sister Channa's husband and their son and sons-in-law wear the black fedoras of Lubavitcher Hasidim.

On Shabbat, her brother Hans' sons and sons-in-law don the fur strimels of Belzer Hasidim.
They all love and respect each other.

Hanukah, the Festival of Lights that begins this week, teaches us to respect opposite viewpoints.
Shamai proposes lighting 8 candles on the first night, removing one each night until only one remains on the 8th day of Hanukah.

Hillel proposes lighting one candle each night until all 8 candles burn brightly on the last night of Hanukah.
Shamai's conceptual view makes logical sense since the full cruse of oil found for the Temple rededication was used up over the 8 days.

Hillel's aesthetic view teaches that it is more beautiful to add light to the world each day than removing it.

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