Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sheikha A. writes




your feet
do not tread

my dreams


my autumned

you brisk

in robes

brightly hued
against my grey


my shackles

off liberation -

you have me

no more.


I am not




Design for Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,"Old Library Theatre, Fair Lawn, New Jersey, 2012 -- Karen Thomas

1 comment:

  1. According to the folk etymology found in “Genesis” 25:26, the name Yaʿakov (Jacob) was related to the Hebrew word for "heel; perhaps it was a shortened version of “Yaaqob-el” (God may protect). God changed his name to Israel, perhaps derived from “El” (God) and the verb “sarar” (to rule, be strong, have authority over), thereby making the name mean "God rules" or "God judges," but the usual verbal root is “lisrot" (wrestle). Lavan (Laban) [white] was the brother of Yaʿakov’s mother and played a key role in arranging her marriage to Yitschak (Isaac). To avoid being killed by his older twin brother Esav (Esau), Yaʿakov was sent to Lavan’s home, where he fell in love with Lavan’s younger daughter Rakhel (Rachel) [ewe]. Lavan allowed him to marry his daughter if he worked for him seven years, but then tricked him into marrying her older sister Le’a (Leah) [cow] instead. (According to Shlomo Yitzchaki (“Rashi,” RAbbi SHlomo Itzhakiin the 11th century, Le’a had been chosen to marry Esav, but she preferred Yaʿakov.) However, in exchange for another seven years of service, Lavan allowed Yaʿakov to also marry Rakhel. Ya’akov and Le’a quickly had four sons (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah), but Rakhel remained childless; she gave her handmaid Bilhah in marriage to her husband so that Rakhel could raise children through her; Bilhah gave birth to Dan and Naphtali. After a period of prolonged infertility, Le’a gave her handmaid Zilpah to Ya’akov in marriage so that she too could raise more children; Zilpah gave birth to Gad and Asher. (The “Midrash Raba” claimed that Bilhah and Zilpah were also the daughters of Lavan.). Le’a’s firstborn, Reuben, took mandrake roots to his mother as an aid to bear more children, but Le’a gave them to Rakhel in exchange for an extra conjugal visit. That night Le’a conceived Issachar (and later gave birth to Zebulun and a daughter, Dina [“judged, vindicated”], who, according to the “Berkahot,” was conceived as a male but changed to a female before birth; she later married Job). But Rebakhel also eventually bore two sons, Yosef and Benoni (Son of my pain”), whose name Ya’akov changed to Benjamin when Rakhel died in childbirth. If the various pregnancies overlapped, the first 12 births (except Benjamin and Dina) could have occurred within seven years. Because Yosef was his father’s favorite, Ya’kov presented him with a “kethoneth passim,” usually translated as "coat of many colors" also as a "coat with long sleeves," a "long coat with stripes," a "richly ornamented robe,""a coat reaching to his feet," "an ornamented tunic," "a silk robe,"or "a fine woolen cloak." His older brothers saw the special coat as an indication that Yosef would assume family leadership, especially after he told them of two dreams in which all the brothers bowed down to him. When he was 17 his brothers plotted to kill him but Reuben persuaded them to abandon by throwing him into a pit. In fact, Reuben planned to rescue him later, but in his absence the other brothers sold him to a caravan of Midianite merchants for 20 pieces of silver; they took Yosef to Ehypt, where he would eventually become the pharoah’s chief official. The brothers then dipped Josef's coat in goat blood and showed it to their father, saying that Joseph had been torn apart by wild beasts.


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