Friday, January 27, 2012

Random Musing Before Shabbat–Bo 5772–Lifting the Cover of Darkness

Eleven years ago, I wrote wondering why the Israelites had simply not left Egypt under the cover of darkness during the 9th plague. I wrote:

Random Musing Before Shabbat – Bo 5771 – Cover of Darkness

The question seems so obvious that this week even a 1st-grader asked it. That could be a good thing, but perhaps not. More on that later.

Here's the chain of events: locusts, darkness, slaying of the first-born, exodus. "Why," the 1st-grader asked, "didn't the Israelites sneak out of Egypt while it was dark?" "yeah," another chimed in. "You told us it got so dark the Egyptians couldn't see anything." Another chimed in "It got so cold they were frozen in place." "Yes," I answered. "The Torah says 'v'lo kamu ish mi takhtav'-no man got up from his place', and the rabbis tell us the Egyptians couldn't move. And a midrash says that the Egyptians could hear noises all around them-doors opening, footsteps, etc-it was the Jews, checking out the beautiful things the Egyptians owned that they knew Hashem had promised they would be taking with them when they left Egypt." "But how could they see?" I answered, "the rabbis tell us that the Jews, wherever they went, there was light, and they could see, but no Egyptian could see." "So why didn't the Jews just leave Egypt?" my original questioner asked.

It's a good question. The rabbis have a few answers. The most obvious one is that G”d had not yet told the Israelites it was time to leave. G”d needed to work that final, awful plague to be sure Pharaoh on the Egyptians-and even the Jews themselves, learned of G”d's awesome power and learned that G”d was in charge. That's the classic answer I offered the students in this rather traditional Day School where I teach. But when one teaches, one is also a student, a learner, and I wasn't even fully satisfied with that answer. The rabbis also tell us that the Jews needed to collect the spoils of Egypt when they left, and that needed to wait until later. But there's a problem with that solution too. The Jews could just as easily taken the Egyptian's gold, silver and other valuables under the cover of darkness and then snuck out of Egypt while the Egyptians were frozen in place and blind.

Now, who I am to question G”d? Well, I am one of G”d's creations, endowed with the very ability to do so-so I assume my creator wants it that way. It wasn't enough to decimate the Egyptian economy with these plagues. G”d had to go ahead and kill all those first-born sons of Egypt. and later on, G”d wipes out most of the rest of the sons, drowning them in the sea! Was all that killing really necessary to make the point? How much punishment is enough?

"If all the first-born were killed, why wasn't Pharaoh killed?" asked another student. "A good question," I answered. "Of course, Pharaoh might not have been a first-born, but we all know Kings usually leave their kingdoms to their oldest sons, right? The rabbis tell us Pharaoh was left alive because someone had to be around to tell the story of Hashem's great power." A classic answer but yet one that troubles me. Even with all the decimation, might not leaving Pharaoh alive make it look to the Egyptians that perhaps Pharaoh, after all, did have some G”d-like powers? But no, Pharaoh had to still be there- to face that ultimate humiliation and tell Moshe to take the Jews and get out of Egypt. And to be alive for that ultimate defeat at the sea of reeds. Ah, the old "puppet master" G”d. Not particularly satisfying.

But G”d, even with such ultimate power and unfathomable plans recognizes that human beings need to have things demonstrated in terms they can understand (something I wrote about in a last week's musing.) And sometimes human beings need to encounter things in terms they can't understand, so the mystery that is G”d can remain. And we have all that here in our parasha. Plainly understandable and totally incomprehensible at the same time.

Perhaps all this killing and destruction was a necessary part of our history, a necessary part of G”d's plan. Perhaps the Jews not sneaking out of Egypt under cover of darkness was part of all that. The same for Pharaoh not being slain as a first-born, if indeed he was. But I would be less than the creature the G”d made me if I didn't wonder if that really was all necessary. A moot point, since that's how it happened and it's how we got to where we are today? Perhaps. But maybe what G”d really wants us to do is to ask these question anyway. And ask them I shall. I won't live like an Egyptian in total, utter darkness. My questions are perhaps the light that I, like the Jews in Egypt, carry with me at all times to help me illumine at least a little bit of Gd. May our questioning always fuel our inner and outer light.

These words speak for themselves and bear repeating. However, I want to add to them, and question another case of “cover of darkness.” Our parasha tells us the the last plague came “in the middle of the night. It’s tempting to ask whether G”d chose the middle of the night because even G”d was feeling a bit guilty about having to kill all these Egyptians. Then again, my opinion of whether G”d would be so concerned or considerate is tempered by the fact that Torah makes a point of telling us the all Egyptians, from the Pharaoh himself, to the lowest prisoner in the dungeon. I presume this also means from the richest of the rich to the poorest of the poor – poor, that I might add, had probably been made serfs and poor through G”d’s servant Joseph when he acquired their land in exchange for food during the famine. Talk about a double-whammy. Was that really necessary? Where is the love and compassion for the downtrodden? Then again, we are talking about the G”d who didn’t spare Sodom or Gomorrah, and as I have speculated before, may have done so knowing there actually might have been 10 or more righteous people in them.

I don’t like this G”d. This G”d who finds it necessary to harden Pharaoh’s heart, to make the suffering of the Egyptians so great, who shows no compassion or mercy except when it’s convenient. This G”d who singles out the children of Israel and keeps them safe whilst plaguing everybody else. While killing others. Directly.

We sanitize our G”d. We have the rabbis and the midrash to help with the whitewash.  Why is it that we have a story of G'”d chastising the angels for celebrating at the Reed Sea, reminding them that many Egyptians died. Where is the same outcry for the indiscriminate, darkness-hidden slaying of the first born?

Tell me – when you spill your drops of wine at your Seder, are you thinking of just the soldiers who drowned in the sea, or are you thinking about all of G”d’s victims in the Passover story? All of G”d’s victims throughout the biblical texts? For that matter, all of G”d’s victims, at any time, past, present, or future.

I believe, with almost absolute certainty, that G”d could have accomplished what needed to be accomplished without so much death. If that’s not the case, then I call into question how G”d structured the universe.

G”d calls upon us to be pursuers of peace. G”d tells us we should not murder. Yes, it doesn’t say we should not kill, so G”d gives us, and even G”d, an out. Yet how can one look upon the tenth plague or the drowning at the Reed Sea (or Sodom and Gomorrah, or the biblical flood, or our violent takeover of Canaan) and not consider those not just killing, but murder? Is there one standard for G”d and a different one for human beings? Apparently so, but I reject that and will not accept that.

As long as we allow G”d to hide these deeds, these murders, under the cover of darkness, we allow G”d to get away with them. We must not allow the G”d of light to hide misdeeds in the darkness. We must not stand by idly while our neighbor bleeds. J’accuse, G”d. Are you ready to stand trial at my Seder this year?

Shabbat Shalom,

©2012 by Adrian A. Durlester. Portions ©2001 by Adrian A. Durlester

Other musings on this parasha:

Bo 5771 - Keretz MiTzafon-Again! (not the same as 5769)
Bo 5769-Keretz MiTzafon
Bo 5768 - Good Loser (Redux 5763)
Bo 5767-Teach Your Children Well (Redux 5762)
Bo 5766 - Random Disjunctions and Convergences (Redux 5760)
Bo 5765-Four Strikes and You're...Well...
Bo 5764-Keretz Ani
Bo 5763 -Good Loser
Bo 5761-Cover of Darkness
Bo 5762-Teach Your Children Well

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Random Musings Before Shabbat-Va'era 5772 - Got It! (Revised and Adapted from 5761 - Just Not Getting It)

A decade ago, I wrote about our parasha. I'm going to share it with you in its entirety before adding some reflections from today:

-----begin 2001 thoughts--------

Sometimes, there are things that are beyond a persons comprehension. Sometimes, we humans can't see outside our paradigms. Therefore, interacting with people often requires us to work within a framework that others can understand. If this is true for one human to another, how much more so it must be true for an incomprehensible deity.

Sometimes, the deity needs to maintain the mystery. "Eh'yeh asher eh'yeh," is the deity's answer to Moshe's question "who shall I tell them has sent me?" At others times, it's in the best interests of the deity to be more direct. "I am the L"rd. I appeared to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov as Kel Shaddai, but I did not make myself known to them by my name, [the tetragrammaton]." But for you, dear Moshe, I have revealed my true name (at least as much as I wanted you to know.) At this time, it was important for Moshe to comprehend the deity, at least as much as was humanly possible. So G"d personalized things a bit.

The question is always asked-why did G"d put the Egyptians and the Israelites through this whole plague thing when, as an all-powerful deity, G"d could have just freed the Israelite people without a hitch or hassle. We all know some of the well-worn answers to this-some attested to in the Torah itself-that G"d wanted to demonstrate absolute sovereignty over all, and so needed some effective demonstrations. Or that nothing worth having should be easy to get. Or that G"d really needed to hear the Israelites cry out in their despair-a despair so deep they could not hold back any longer, could not be complacent or silent.

Whichever of these reasons you choose, the simple fact is that G"d was choosing to operate in a manner which could be understood by all the parties involved. Oh, the truly wise might have seen how great G"d was from a simple one-step act of freeing the Israelites from slavery, but the average Israelite & Egyptian needed something less abstract.

So G"d gives us Moshe, a human being, to carry out G"d's plans-putting a human face on it all. No big mysterious deity, but a real flesh and blood person through whom G"d could demonstrate power.

G"d also understood something about Pharaoh. Pharaoh thought he himself was a deity. And to Pharaoh, his courtiers and the Egyptians, the idea of some unseen, non-physical deity was simply too bizarre. So G"d appointed Moshe to the role of "god to Pharaoh." Moshe (and Aharon) put a face, something tangible, to represent G"d so that Pharaoh could interact and play out G"d's little charade.

This helps me understand something that has always puzzled me. Why was it necessary for Moshe to plead with G"d to stop several of the plagues once Pharaoh appeared to have agreed to let the Israelites go worship their G"d? Surely the omnipotent and omnipresent deity was aware of this.

So the theory is this: Pharaoh was, as they say, just not getting it. Pharaoh continued to see G"d as just another rival, a potentially more powerful deity than he was. But this Pharaoh did not have the foresight or open-mindedness of an Amenhotep IV or an Avraham, and comprehend the idea that there was only one all powerful deity. To compensate for this, Gd even went so far to accommodate the Egyptian ( and to some extent Israelite) world views, that, even though G"d was perfectly well aware of when Pharaoh had acceded to Moshe's demands after several of the plagues, Moshe had to go plead with Hashem to stop them. Pharaoh could not comprehend otherwise. And I'm not sure that Pharaoh ever really "got it." I'm not even sure we Jews have ever completely "gotten it." But we try.

G"d is exceedingly wise. G"d's understanding that sometimes we humans "just aren't getting it" has enabled G"d to do some things necessary for us to be able to comprehend, in some form, Gd. It's why we are not just a people with a covenant in thought and memory. We have a document-a physical something which Gd gave us so that we could have a form in which to understand and appreciate G"d, in the limited ways possible to us.

And we have Shabbat. A reminder, once every seven days, of the G"d who created us, who commands us, and watches over us. Shabbat is the perfect time for us when we are "just not getting it." The workaday world, with all its trials, tribulations, disappointments, problems, bad things happening to good people, etc. With all that going on, it's no wonder we sometimes can't comprehend or understand G"d, the One who set it all into motion and keeps it going. No wonder we are "just not getting it."

Using this gift of playing to the paradigm enabled Moshe to be G"d's agent in freeing the Israelites from Egypt. We, too, can benefit from these gifts from G"d in forms we can comprehend. Torah. Mitzvot. Shabbat. Paths to "getting it." Use them wisely, use them often, use them lovingly. And remember to offer thanks to the One wise enough to make them available to us.

---end 2001 thoughts----begin additions for 2012-----

Wow. In hindsight, I have to say to myself: what a whitewash! It's a lovely whitewash, but a decade later, it falls a little flat for me. I still have some credence in the thought that G"d may have been wise enough to work within human paradigms - and this helps explain a few things. In the end, however, it's just a rationale. Now the thoughts in my head tend to worry less about Pharaoh not getting it, but about G"d not getting it. G"d may not truly understand G"d's creations as well as G"d thinks G"d does. (Not that I object to gender neutral language, but boy does that make for a complicated sentence.)

Did we all really need this lesson in this particular manner? As an educator, I struggle with this all the time. I want my students to not just learn, but to understand. I even feel compelled to give rationales for rules of classroom behavior and demeanor. Yet sometimes, as I  face problems in classroom management, as all educators do, I realize that it's not always the best idea to get into a lengthy discussion of things.It may be that sometimes it really is okay to say "that's just the way it it, like it or lump it." Now, I have to admit I have a hard time with that. I don't ever think it is reasonable to expect anyone to adhere to a set of rules without their full comprehension and understanding of them. (This is what I think drives scientists to continue to try and understand what is behind all the rules of the universe.) Yet there are times when I just want to say (and when other professionals encourage me to say) "because I am the teacher and you are the student. Just do it."

It seems G"d may have been as uncomfortable with that (at times) as I am. There are certainly plenty of examples in Torah of G"d just saying "that's the way it is, deal with it." Yet in this parasha and a few other places in the text we encounter a G"d who insists on offering explanations and rationales. The aseret hadibrot (ten commandments) are rife with explanations, as are many of the rules laid out in Torah. Yes, sometimes the rationale is a simple "ani Ad"nai," because "I am G"d." At other times it can be things like "so that you may long endure on this earth."

Our long history of interpretative text - Talmud, Midrash, and later commentaries serves, among pother things, to satisfy our natural human need for understanding, for rationales to support things. The rabbis have always been happy to provide them. Rarely, if ever, would a great posek simply say "because G"d said so."

So once again I ask, why wasn't G"d plainer and clearer? The need for centuries of interpretation, explanation and provision of rationales seems to me clear evidence that G"d just doesn't get us.

Ah, but wait. What would our lives be like if G"d had laid it all out for us in plain language? We may have then been more like a totalitarian society - the trains would run on time, crime would be less rampant. Yet what would we lose in exchange? Some religions really do spell it all out for their adherents (or at least their adherents claim that they do) but Judaism, among others, certainly does not. We don't have 613 rules. We have 613 (and more) things to try and figure out how and why to do. Life as a Jew is never boring. Other religions provide equally vexing problems, balanced with a dash of "just do it."

Even if G"d always provided clear guidance, would that always work out? Let's look at Gan Eden. G"d was pretty specific: eat anything you want except this. If Adam and Chava had followed the rules, what would humanity be like today? What I have often complained about as G"d's bad parenting may just be G"d being wiley as a fox. Perfection will drive these creations crazy. I must find a way to challenge them and keep them occupied. I know, I'll tell them they can do anything they want except this. They're bound to do it. Just to be sure, I'll even ask that serpent to help out.

I'm still not convinced that all the plagues and heart-hardening of Pharaoh was necessary, and I'm even still unconvinced by my own arguments from 10 years ago. Yet I'm willing to give G"d the benefit of the doubt.

Some people in the world need clear answers. G'd seems to have made provisions for them. Other people in the world thrive on trying to figure things out for themselves. G"d seems to have provided for them as well. G"d's Torah seems to reach out to both types at different points.

Maybe G"d really gets us after all.

Shabbat Shalom,

© 2012 and parts ©2001 by Adrian A. Durlester

Other musings on this parasha:

Va'era 5771/5765-Brighton Beach-Last Stop!
Va'era 5769 - Substitute
Va'era 5767-again, Crushed Spirits (Miqotzer Ruakh)
Va'era 5766-Why Tomorrow?
Va'era 5765-Brighton Beach-Last Stop!
Va'era 5764-Imperfect Perfection and Perfect Imperfection
Va'era 5763 - Pray for Me
Va'era 5761-Just Not Getting It
Va'era 5762-Early will I Seek You

Friday, January 13, 2012

Random Musing Before Shabbat–Sh’mot 5772–Is Might Ever Right?

Maybe G”d needed a Merlin. Maybe G”d needed to be turned into a fish, a hawk, an ant, a goose, and a badger. Maybe (and yes this borders on the heretical) G”d needed to be turned into a human being so that G”d could experience what that was like.  Could (can) G”d truly understand what G”d’s creations have to deal with on a daily basis?

Yes, there’s some evidence in Torah that G”d certainly experiences forms of human emotions and behavior – anger, petulance, jealousy, pride, arrogance, and more. Yet there is a very basic lesson that G”d didn’t seem to learn – that might for right is better than make is right.

Oh, one could easily argue that G”d’s cause is intrinsically right, therefore any action of might on G”d’s part is, perforce, for right as much as it is right. I think that’s pretty thin ice.

Let’s play the hypothetical game. What if G”d (through Moses, or even directly) attempted to use reason, and reason only, to convince Pharaoh that G”d was indeed the One true G”d and that Pharaoh should let the Israelites go? We don’t get the argument in this parasha, but we will soon, that the plagues, the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, etc. were all necessary to make the event of enough significance. The rationale is that if it seemed or appeared to be a victory too easily won, it wouldn’t have been as meaningful.

Poppycock. We know the truth. G”d is an “ish milkhama” or better yet an “El milkhama” – a warrior G”d. The earth of G”d’s creation was a place where might made right, and G”d contributed to that overall sense of values.

G”d does things with a “yad hazaka” – a strong arm. Why not a G”d who does things with a strong intellect, or a strong and worthy cause?

Send the Israelites down to Egypt. Have Joseph assist Pharaoh in making the Egyptians all serfs. Ignore the Israelites for a few centuries. Suddenly harken to their cries and decide to bring them forth from their bondage – but not directly, rather through an intermediary.

“But wait,” I hear you cry. “Isn’t sending Moses sort of a way that G”d is trying to negotiate and reason with Pharaoh?” Let’s think about that. Really? Moses wasn’t sent to negotiate. He was sent to warn and threaten. He was sent to tell Pharaoh that might is right and might is G”d and G”d is might and G”d is right, and you are going to suffer, whether you like it or not. For good measure, G”d will make sure you suffer extra by hardening your heart. Yeah, that’s negotiating alright.

Yes, G”d could use a few lessons from Merlin, G”d ought to be convinced to use might only for right. (which would also require G”d to accept that just because G”d thinks something is right doesn’t necessarily make it right. Now there’s a conundrum.) G”d could learn to be more like Arthur.

“But wait,” I hear myself cry. The Arthur and Merlin of “might for right” is only a fantasy, a concoction from the brilliant mind of T. H. White. A brilliant concoction, no doubt – probably the finest work of fantasy ever written. However the Arthur and other characters of “Once and Future King” as as unlike their earlier portrayals in stories, myths, and legends as they could possibly be.

Prior to White’s version of the Arthurian legends, most tales portrayed Arthur and his knights in very negative ways. Arthur was often derided as the “do nothing King.” His knights were lechers and debauchers. There may have been a great table, but it wasn’t round. There may have been a sword, but it wasn’t Exacalibur. Go take a look at the medieval Welsh stories of the Mabinogion, or the historical writings of Geoffrey of Monmouth. The Arthur we think of today is not the Arthur of the original sources, just as our understanding of G”d today is different from the G”d of understanding of our ancestors.

So how is it that the writings of an agnostic, alcoholic, sexually repressed, somewhat misanthropic British author provide for us lessons which we might dare suggest ought to be learned by G”d? It’s as cliché as the ending of the movie version of Dan Brown’s “Angels and Demons” when Cardinal Strauss suggests to Professor Langdon that G”d had sent him to help the church in its time of need.

Religious wisdom and insight often comes to us from outside the religious fold. Consider this great essay from Tablet Magazine in which the author derives some religious wisdom from Christopher Hitchens.  So why not from T. H. White?

For that matter, why not from Monty Python:

“And the Lord spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it”

What does G”d need with Holy hand Grenades? What does G”d need with plagues? With sacrifices? What use does G”d have of war, armies, swords, battle?

Finally, now that I think about it, is might for right any better than might makes right? After all, there’s still might involved. Hard to argue with Hitchens. Religions have certainly wielded the sword with the idea that their might was for right just as much as they wielded the sword for might making right. Who gets to define what “right” is? As Pontius Pilate once asked a certain Jewish man, “What is truth?” Defining “right” is no easier.

So where does this leave us? Right where the Torah wants us. Confounded. Confused. Frustrated. Not frustrated enough to stop, just frustrated enough to be determined to keep looking, keep seeking, keep turning it and turning it.

Shabbat Shalom,

©2012 by Adrian A. Durlester

Previous musings on this parasha:

Sh'mot 5771 - Free Association IV
Sh'mot 5767-Logic & Metaphysics
Sh'mot 5766-Free Association III
Shemot 5765-Why Us?
Shemot 5764-Uncomsumed-ness
Shemot 5763 - Free Association II
Shemot 5760-Tzaz Latzav, Tzav Latzav
Shemot 5761-The Spice of Life
Shemot 5762-Little Ol' Me?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Random Musing Before Shabbat–Vayekhi 5772–A Different HaMalakh HaGoel

It’s so convenient and we so overlook it. Joseph brings Ephraim and Menashe before Jacob for his final blessing, and Jacob offers the familiar and beautiful words:

Vay’variekh et Yoseif vayomar: HaElohim asher  avotai l’fanaiv Avraham v’Yitzkhak; HaElohim Ha-ro’eh oti m’odi ad hayom hazeh; HaMalakh HaGoel oti m’kol rav, y’variekh et hana’arimv’yilarei vahem sh’mi v’shem avotai Avraham, Yitzkhak v’yid’gu larov b’kerev ha’aretz

And he blessed Joseph, saying: The G”d in whose ways my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked; The G”d who has been my shepherd from my birth to this day; The Angel who has redeemed me from all harm-Bless the lads, In them may my name be recalled, and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they be teeming multitudes upon the earth. (JPS Gen. 48:15-16)

I’ve written previously about the Hamalakh HaGoel prayer, and I commend those thoughts to you, however today I am taking a somewhat different slant.

It’s important to recall the recipients of this blessing – Ephraim and Menashe, Yosef’s sons by his Egyptian wife. Now, Jacob’s blessing here doubtless confers upon these two sons membership in the tribe, and eligibility to be part of the continuing lineage of the Abraham-Isaac-Jacob clan. Even with this blessing, and from my modern lens, I still have trouble as seeing the “half-tribes” of Ephraim and Menashe as legitimate given how later Jewish tradition so twisted the concept of “who is a Jew?” How, on the one hand, can traditional Judaism still cling to the idea of matriarchal descent, cling to its strong opposition to inter-marriage, and overlook the fact that at least a goodly number of those who stood at Sinai were descended from an Egyptian mother?

Oh, I’ve heard all the arguments. It’s a pre-Sinai event. The advent of matriarchal descent became normative later. Jacob’s status as one of the patriarchs is alone enough to confer upon him the right to forever include these two children of an inter-marriage in the tribe, circumstances be damned. It was all part of G”d’s plan.

All of it is thin ice, a house a cards. In our post-Shoah world as we rail against assimilation and inter-marriage, we seem to have little trouble overlooking the fact that at least two of the twelve tribes had parents of mixed lineage. (Actually, chances are there was quite a bit of mixed lineage among the tribes.)

It’s time for us to get off our high horses and get realistic about Jewish survival. The Jewish world is replete with “gerim toshvim",” with strangers who live among us and practice our ways. It is full of children who have only one Jewish parent. It is full of many children whose Jewish parent is not their mother.

For the sake of Jewish continuity, Jacob was able to overlook the mixed parentage of Ephraim and Menashe. Who are we to do any less?

In my other musing about Hamalakh HaGoel I wondered why Jacob invokes G”d in three ways- as the G”d of his father and grandfather; as the G”d who has been his shepherd from birth; and as the Angel who redeemed him from harm. I suggested that mention of the Angel recalls Jacob’s struggle. It occurs to me now that it might also reference Jacob’s internal struggle to bring himself to bless Ephraim and Menashe, knowing as he did that their mother was an Egyptian.

Like Jacob, we too are Israel, and we struggle. May we have the wisdom to learn from Yaakov and embrace all children and their parents who seek and strive to be part of Am Yisrael, regardless of their parentage and lineage. May we bless them. Then, perhaps, we will again be worthy to become teeming multitudes upon the earth.

Hazak, hazak, v’nitkhazeik.

Shabbat Shalom,

©2012 by Adrian A. Durlester

Other musings on this parasha:

Vayekhi 5771-Trading Places (Redux & Updated from 5759)
Vayekhi 5770 - Musing Block?
Vayekhi 5769 - Enough With the Hereditary Payback Already!
Vayekhi 5767-HaMalakh HaGoel
Vayechi 5766-Thresholds (Redux 5764 with Reflections
Vayechi 5761/5-Unethical Wills
Vayechi 5764-Thresholds
Vayechi 5763 - I Got it Good and That Ain't Bad (Redux 5760)
Vayechi 5759-Trading Places
Vayechi 5762-The Wrong Good