Vayigash

To describe Jacob’s love for his son, Judah says “his soul is bound to his soul”. Whose soul to whose? It doesn’t matter – the bond is so strong as to erase separate entities. This is echoed in the phrase on Jewish gravestones: “May this soul be bound in the bond of life”. The afterlife is here too. Souls of the departed resonate in the souls of the living, bound together so tightly that one can hardly say who is who. And when Jacob descends to Egypt, “the soul of Jacob was seventy.” His seventy descendents are considered aspects of a single soul. Backwards and forwards in time, we are bound together in ways that only enrich our diversity and individuality.

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[Inspired by: thoughts and memories of my grandfather, who would have turned 100 today; many of Chagall’s works, including ‘The Triumph of Music‘; Genesis 44 and 46; Shnei Luchot Habrit, Torah Or.]

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