Wednesday, October 8, 2008

1:3:112 Teshuva

Today/tomorrow’s midrash is on the theme of forgiveness and teshuva.  I present it from the English translation without commentary. 

Have an easy fast.

“And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, ‘It may be that Joseph bears a grudge against us’ “ (Gen. 50:15).  What did they see that made them afraid?  As they were returning from burying their father, they saw that Joseph turned off the road and went to look at the pit into which his brothers had cast him.  Upon seeing this, they said, “He sill bears a grudge in his heart.  Now that our father is dead, he will make his hatred of us felt.”  But in fact Joseph’s motive was a pious one – he wanted to utter a blessing for the miracle wrought for him in that place.

1 comment:

Anita said...

We have an urge to re-visit a place of powerful memories. These places have great pull over us. It could be a positive site, like the spot where you became engaged, or the empty lot where you and your siblings played (which isn't empty any more!). Places with sad or terrifying memories have a hold on us too, and I can just picture Joseph peering over the pit into which his brothers threw him, lost in thought. Was it a blessing he had in mind when he walked up to its edge? Was he thinking anything at all? I don't think so. He just needed to stand there and see it again, from above, from a place of safety. I see him peering into the silence and the darkness and weeping. Weeping for how scared he was, for the loneliness he felt, the utter abandonment by those who were closest to him, his family. Even with the friction between the brothers, I don't know that the young 17year old,naive baby brother thought they could do this to him. But after the tears and time passed, perhaps Joseph realized what had happened to him since that time in the darkness, and saw that it set him on a journey that led to Egypt, some more time in darkness (prison) leadership, a family of his own, and ultimately, meeting his brothers again. No one comes out of a pit like that unscarred - literally and emotionally. Perhaps if Joseph had met up with his brothers earlier, he would have held more hatred in his heart for them. So where was the blessing in this? Maybe for Joseph, it was not just the fact of survival, but of even a little bit of healing. I don't think it was necessarily piety that drew Joseph to the edge of that pit. It was,however,the blessing of a more whole heart that let him walk away again.