Author Archive | Hannah Elovitz


Vayeshev: Entitlement and Creation by Hannah Elovitz

Our story returns to tell us, “Now Jacob was settled in the land where his father had sojourned, the land of Canaan” (Gen. 37:1, JPS translation). Jacob’s father and grandfather had only ever been outsiders in the land in which Jacob now shepherds his flocks along with his family. Perhaps it is no wonder that Jacob’s favorite son, Joseph, starts to feel a little too comfortable there. The two dreams that Joseph famously dreams, and subsequently decides to share with his 11 brothers, both feature elements of nature bowing down to him: in the first, 11 sheaves of wheat bow down to his; in the second, the sun, moon, and 11 stars bow down to him. Unsurprisingly, his brothers are furious, and so begins the tragic event sequence that later leaves Joseph in Egyptian jail.  At least subconsciously, Joseph expected everyone and everything to bow to his will. This cautionary tale highlights the dangers of land ownership, or ownership of any material possessions. Though we may have monetarily acquired the rights to a piece of land or a car or a sheaf of wheat, they are still ultimately on loan to us. Land is not ours to rule over, but […]

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cole produce vegetable basket adamah sq

Food, then and now

Thursday, August 6, 2020 | 16 Av 5780 Dear All, This week’s sidra, Eikev, is the week that introduced into English (via the King James version)  “man does not live by bread alone” and “a land flowing with milk and honey.”  It’s the week that lists the seven species – shivat haminim – that are indigenous to the land of Israel, which Bill Slott points out to me every few years as we ride from Jerusalem to Ashkelon on the first day of the Arava Institute Hazon Israel Ride. And it includes the second paragraph of the shm’a, linking our behavior to the climate of the world. Food is a recurring motif. Perhaps that was why Ruby Rivlin, President of Israel, chose this week to spend the day helping Leket pack food for people in need. As Joe Gitler subsequently wrote, President Rivlin wasn’t just doing a photo-op. He’s seriously engaged by the topic and thinking hard – and striving to put the weight of his office – behind new ways to help get food to people who are food insecure. But you don’t have to be President of Israel to make a difference. “Pivot” and “swivel” are words-of-this-year, and they encapsulate […]

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