"The Middle Sons" 08-04-12

Study Notes from BIll:

Ohad Ezrahi sang “Modeh Ani”- Morning blessings.  “Thanks for the soul that has been restored to me.  He also sang “Rab Emmuntech bi,” “Great is your trust in me”

He also said, “When I wake, I say ‘So, G*d you have decided to be me for another day.  I’ll give you a good ride.”   (Zalman quote?)

At the end of his musical set, we were tempted to hold up lit lighters in classic concert tribute fashion, but we resisted, since it would be sacrilegious to light a fire on Sabbath.

Vayechi (Genesis 49:13 -21) learning

Jacob is delivering his deathbed blessings. Michael Chusid described his father’s deathbed proclamation, “All is bullshit!” His father was commenting on some writing that Michael had done, but Michael took it as a more generalized angry comment on everything.

Zebulon became a tribe of merchant marines.  Supporters of Torah study are called Zebulon.

Issachar is compared to a donkey.  He is strong and plows the productive fields.  He is compared to the Torah scholar (who receives money from Zebulon).

Asher is the happy fat baker.  He will export luxury goods, “royal dainties,” and live with the smell of fresh baked bread.

Dan is the “judge.”  ‘Judge’ means, in this context to “avenge.”  The “judges’ may have been really warlords.  Even Devorah led warriors into battle. Two aspects of ancient rulers were to fight and to pass judgment in court.

Dan is to govern the northern exposed land to defend as well as the western coast. Dan is compared to "the snake that bites the heel of the horse, who then bucks its rider."  Jacob is big on “heels.”  Snake is a reference to a viper, i.e. Dan is dangerous, especially in guerilla warfare.  It is also a reference to “healing/heeling” property of snakes (medical symbol of healing; Caduceus).

Jacob exclaimed: "For Your salvation, God do I hope!" (Genesis 49:18)  Dan is vulnerable, so Jacob prays for him.

Gad will be attacked, but he will attack his attackers and catch them by the “heel.”  Again, Jacob has a thing for heels.

Naftali had an exceptionally poetic verse, “letting loose (giving birth?) to lovely fawns” and this was compared to “goodly words.”  The word for “letting loose/yield/giving birth” is from the root “lashefir,” which means to improve.  It is related to the root word for amniotic fluid. Eloquence and use of words is associated with the primal energy of creation.