Tag Archive | Benjamin

Fox Byte 5775 #9: VaYeshev (And He Settled)

וַיֵּשֶׁב

Two recent popular adaptations of the Joseph story.  Top:  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  Photo from a from a review by Julie Peterson, Phoenix New Times, July 19, 2013, of a production by the Arizona Broadway Theatre starring Ryan Michael Crimmons.  Bottom:  Joseph:  King of Dreams, a 2000 Dreamworks production starring Ben Affleck (picture from dreamworks.wikia.com.)

Two recent adaptations of the Joseph story.  Top:  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  Photo from a from a review by Julie Peterson, Phoenix New Times, July 19, 2013, of a production by the Arizona Broadway Theatre starring Ryan Michael Crimmons.  Bottom:  Joseph: King of Dreams, starring Ben Affleck (picture from DreamWorks Wiki).

Everyone knows about Joseph and his fancy coat.  He was the one with the dreams of greatness about how his brothers and his parents would bow down to him.  Joseph was the favorite son, the one his father loved best, and the one who seemed to rub that in the faces of his brothers.  That’s why they hated him and tried to kill him, and that’s why they sold him into Egypt as a slave.  Everyone knows that story, and they know how Joseph was thrown into prison because his Egyptian master’s wife falsely accused him of attempted rape.  They know what happened next:  that while in prison Joseph interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s chief butler and baker, and eventually that’s what opened the way for him to get out of prison.  Even people who have never read the Bible know Joseph’s story.  It makes for good theater, as Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sir Tim Rice showed us with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and as we learned with the DreamWorks animated movie, Joseph:  King of Dreams.  That’s why I’m not going to write about Joseph.  I’m going to write about the awkward and uncomfortable story of his older brother Judah.

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Fox Byte 5775 #7: VaYetze (And He Went Out)

וַיֵּצֵא

In the 1970 film Little Big Man, Jack Crabb/Little Big Man (Dustin Hoffman) and Younger Bear (Cal Bellini) discuss their marriages as Little Horse (Robert Little Star) looks on.  (Photo from http://limereviews.blogspot.com/)

In the 1970 film Little Big Man, Jack Crabb/Little Big Man (Dustin Hoffman) and Younger Bear (Cal Bellini) discuss their marriages as Little Horse (Robert Little Star) looks on. (Photo from Lime Reviews & Strawberry Confessions)

The 1970 movie Little Big Man, starring Dustin Hoffman, follows the story of Jack Crabb, a white boy adopted by a Cheyenne warrior and raised among the Indians with the name Little Big Man.  Jack spends his life moving between the very different worlds of his native white frontier people and his adopted Indian family.  At one point, when he is back again among the Cheyenne, Jack takes a wife named Sunshine.  The two live happily for a time, but then Sunshine persuades Jack to marry her three widowed sisters.  Jack reluctantly agrees, and soon becomes head of a very large household.  One day, as he wanders through the camp pondering his circumstances, he encounters an old enemy, the warrior Younger Bear whom he has inadvertently shamed many times.  Thinking he at last has an advantage over Little Big Man, Younger Bear boasts, “I have a wife.  And four horses.”  Jack answers as if in a daze, “I have a horse . . . and four wives.”  And with that absent-minded answer he once again shames Younger Bear.

Little Big Man is a satire, but oddly enough it echoes something from our ancient past.  Our ancestor Jacob, like Jack Crabb, left the land of his birth to seek a wife among his distant relatives.  He ended up taking four wives, shaming his wives’ kin, and coming home with far more than he anticipated.  Jacob’s story, however, has much greater significance than the ribald satire of Little Big Man.  His life is a continuous string of prophetic pictures illustrating what happens to us, his offspring.

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A Christian Guide to Parenting, Jewish Style

BFB140611 High Priest Blessing the PeopleAnother common misunderstanding in Christian teaching is that grace has no place in the Old Testament, and certainly not in the Jewish perception of humanity’s relationship with the Creator.  Permit Rabbi David Forhman to blow that misunderstanding out of the water.  Not only does he explain grace as well or better than any Christian teacher I have ever heard, he also addresses the reason life in the womb is precious to our God and worthy of our protection.

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What We Missed About Pentecost

"The Numbering of the Israelites" Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux

The Numbering of the Israelites
Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux

Here are some things that seldom come together in the same sentence:  genealogy, Israel’s tribes, Apostle Paul, Moses and Aaron, Ruth and Boaz, the Holy Spirit, and Torah.  What could these all have in common?  They all come together in the Feast of Weeks, known in Hebrew as Shavuot, and in Greek as Pentecost.  Together they reveal to us is God’s plan to bless every family and nation on earth.

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Give Me a Place Where I May Dwell

It is a perilous thing to start taking God at His word.  He tends to change one’s paradigms in most uncomfortable ways.  When once we begin studying the Bible with the same amount of devotion with which we study our bank accounts, or the record of our favorite sports team, or the latest offerings from Hollywood, we find that what we have held to be true all our lives is often not quite so.  Take, for example, the message of one of the world’s most cherished Christmas carols, Away in a Manger.  For the most part this pleasant song is a wonderful hymn to our Savior Yeshua haMashiach (Jesus Christ) Who humbled Himself to become one of us.  But then we come to the last lyric:

Bless all the dear children

In Thy tender care;

And take us to heaven

To live with Thee there.

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