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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