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.