Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Va-Yechi: Restless like Water

In doing this poem ha-shavua learning experience/writing exercise, I have resigned to not further publicly disclaim weeks when my writing represents a cop out or some sort of laziness. Rather, I will craft a haiku and have you, my erudite readers, connect the dots.

I have not written a haiku since B'reishit when that powerful form was utilized with great thought and intention. This week, despite learning the parashah very well with various commentaries, the poetry of the various blessings and curses spoken by Joseph were so vivid that I really couldn't come up with anything that stood out on its own. I was, however very taken by the Midrash that the Egyptians had built a bronze coffin for Joseph and sunk it in the Nile to bring blessing upon the confining spiritual locus of Mitzrayim. I found this midrash very beautiful and the juxtaposition of the heavy coffin sinking beneath the surface of the water with a culturally conflicted tzaddik within, and the description of Reuven as being "restless like water" in Jacob's final blessing/curse as being related in some way.

Ultimately, perhaps my use of haiku was not at all a cop out, rather an attempt to comprehend what that connection may be in this most perplexing and potent of forms. Also, I am ever curious about the connection between the righteous who have passed and the living who aspire to fill their earthly shoes and how that plays out. Another question I asked is why would the Egyptians venerate or maybe defame the body of a righteous man in the way that the midrash suggests? Lots of thoughts percolating on my end, hopefully next week the creativity will as well :-)

Shabbat Shalom!

Restless like water,
Heathens craft a bronze coffin
To sink in the Nile.

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