mishmar ON THE DISABLED LIST

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Slide 5

Nahum Sarna: The first detail to arrest our attention is the river as the scene of the struggle. This immediately calls to mind the innumerable tales in world literature of river-spirits who fight with humans seeking to cross their abodes. Insofar as rivers frequently prove unexpectedly treacherous, they were believed to possess some malevolent power dangerous to life.

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Achilles was the son of Thetis and Peleus and the bravest hero of the Trojan War When Achilles was born, his mother tried to make him immortal by dipping him in the River Styx As she immersed him, she held him by the heel and forgot to dip him a second time so the heel would be invulnerable Achilles’ vulnerable spot was his heel, and he was, in fact, killed when a poisoned arrow shot him in the heel Even today, a person’s weak spot is called his Achilles’ heel

Slide 7

No matter what Achilles does, he is doomed. The oracle had told his mother if Achilles fought in war, he would get glory but would die young.

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Oedipus gets his name from the fact that he was left in the mountains with his ankles pinned together. Jocasta, his wife/mother, explains that Laius, his true father, abandoned him on a mountain after Oedipus was born. The injury leaves Oedipus with a scar for the rest of his life. Oedipus’ injury symbolizes the way in which fate has marked him and set him apart. It also symbolizes the way his movements have been confined and constrained since birth.

Slide 11

Jacob needs to confront what he did to Esau, whom he tricked so long ago and whom he is about to meet once again. In fact, the Midrash identifies the assailant with Esau. Jacob is fighting himself and what he did to Esau so long ago. He must accept blame for what he did wrong and acknowledge that he was wrong before he can move on.

Slide 14

Are Ya’akov’s unsavory qualities part of his fate – as Oedipus’ swollen ankles and Achilles’ heel were for the Greek heroes? Will Ya’akov be “tripped up” by his own negative qualities?

Slide 16

When Ya’akov limps away after his night with the assailant, he is walking straight for the first time in his life. Achilles and Oedipus succumbed to their fates. All we have left of them are some medical and psychological terms: Achilles tendon Achilles heel Oedipal Complex (don’t ask)

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ON THE DISABLED LIST Ya’akov, Achilles, Oedipus and the Significance of Injury

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“SO . . . DO YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS WITH WEAK ANKLES?” – Meg to Hercules in Hercules

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Be’reishit 32:23-25 כג  וַיָּקָם בַּלַּיְלָה הוּא, וַיִּקַּח אֶת-שְׁתֵּי נָשָׁיו וְאֶת-שְׁתֵּי שִׁפְחֹתָיו, וְאֶת-אַחַד עָשָׂר, יְלָדָיו; וַיַּעֲבֹר, אֵת מַעֲבַר יַבֹּק. כד  וַיִּקָּחֵם--וַיַּעֲבִרֵם, אֶת-הַנָּחַל; וַיַּעֲבֵר, אֶת-אֲשֶׁר-לוֹ. כה  וַיִּוָּתֵר יַעֲקֹב, לְבַדּוֹ; וַיֵּאָבֵק אִישׁ עִמּוֹ, עַד עֲלוֹת הַשָּׁחַר.

Slide 4

Be’reishit 32:26-29 כו  וַיַּרְא, כִּי לֹא יָכֹל לוֹ, וַיִּגַּע, בְּכַף-יְרֵכוֹ; וַתֵּקַע כַּף-יֶרֶךְ יַעֲקֹב, בְּהֵאָבְקוֹ עִמּוֹ. כז  וַיֹּאמֶר שַׁלְּחֵנִי, כִּי עָלָה הַשָּׁחַר; וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא אֲשַׁלֵּחֲךָ, כִּי אִם-בֵּרַכְתָּנִי. כח  וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו, מַה-שְּׁמֶךָ; וַיֹּאמֶר, יַעֲקֹב. כט  וַיֹּאמֶר, לֹא יַעֲקֹב יֵאָמֵר עוֹד שִׁמְךָ--כִּי, אִם-יִשְׂרָאֵל:  כִּי-שָׂרִיתָ עִם-אֱלֹהִים וְעִם-אֲנָשִׁים, וַתּוּכָל.

Slide 5

The sites of Penuel and Mahanaim have been identified with two sites in north-central Jordan, Tulul Eddahab El-Gharbi and Tulul Eddahab El-Sharqi (the eastern and western hills of gold).

Slide 6

The Great Achilles Achilles slays Penthesilea by Exekias 530 BCE

Slide 7

Opening of The Iliad Rage — Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles, murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses, hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls, great fighters’ souls, but made their bodies carrion, feasts for the dogs and birds, and the will of Zeus was moving toward its end. Begin, Muse, when the two first broke and clashed, Agamemnon lord of men and brilliant Achilles. . . .

Slide 8

Ajax Carrying the Dead Achilles

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Oedipus’ Name: “Swollen Foot” Oedipus and the Sphinx Oedipus being abandoned

Slide 10

From “The Role of Pain in Myths and Fairy Tales” by Axel Hinrich Murken “Pain is one of the basic conditions of human life. As such, how pain is felt and borne has been reflected in written and graphic traditions in all phases of the history of civilisation . . . . The range of literature portray[s] pain, often together with fear, as a potentially threatening but at the same time protective element of human existence . . . .”

Slide 11

Gustave Dore, Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, 1855.

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What Does Ya’akov Get From the Attacker, Aside From a Limp? A new name In the Torah, what does name-changing mean? Paul Gauguin, Vision After the Sermon, 1888.

Slide 13

What does the name “Ya’akov” mean? Be’reishit 25:26: Then his brother emerged, holding on to the heel of Esau; so they named him Jacob.   וְאַחֲרֵי-כֵן יָצָא אָחִיו, וְיָדוֹ אֹחֶזֶת בַּעֲקֵב עֵשָׂו, וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ, יַעֲקֹב; וְיִצְחָק בֶּן-שִׁשִּׁים שָׁנָה, בְּלֶדֶת אֹתָם.

Slide 14

Ya’akov Becomes Yisrael Be’reishit 27:34-36: 34: When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst into wild and bitter sobbing, and said to his father, “Bless me too, Father!” 35: But he answered, “Your brother came with guile and took away your blessing.” 36: [Esau] said, “Was he, then, named Jacob that he might supplant me these two times?” First he took away my birthright and now he has taken away my blessing!” לד  כִּשְׁמֹעַ עֵשָׂו, אֶת-דִּבְרֵי אָבִיו, וַיִּצְעַק צְעָקָה, גְּדֹלָה וּמָרָה עַד-מְאֹד; וַיֹּאמֶר לְאָבִיו, בָּרְכֵנִי גַם-אָנִי אָבִי. לה  וַיֹּאמֶר, בָּא אָחִיךָ בְּמִרְמָה; וַיִּקַּח, בִּרְכָתֶךָ. לו  וַיֹּאמֶר הֲכִי קָרָא שְׁמוֹ יַעֲקֹב, וַיַּעְקְבֵנִי זֶה פַעֲמַיִם--אֶת-בְּכֹרָתִי לָקָח, וְהִנֵּה עַתָּה לָקַח בִּרְכָתִי; וַיֹּאמַר, הֲלֹא-אָצַלְתָּ לִּי בְּרָכָה.

Slide 15

IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT, WHEN NO ONE IS AROUND AND IT IS ONLY YOU AND YOUR CONSCIENCE, YOU WILL HAVE TO CONFRONT WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON. WE ARE NOT LIKE THE GREEKS WE DO NOT BELIEVE OUR FATE IS SEALED BY OUR PARENTS OR ANYONE WHO CAME BEFORE US

Slide 16

WE ARE B’NAI YISRAEL Ya’akov fought and won, though he was left with a limp. Fighting leaves its mark. But he became someone new: Yisrael.

Slide 17

Already in Biblical times, the name Yisrael had associations with “sovereignty” (va-yasar) or “rectitude” (y-sh-r). Ramban supports this idea by translating the name in Devarim as “He who is upright with God.”

Slide 18

YA’AKOV’S DESCENDENTS ARE STILL WALKING THE EARTH what do you have the strength to be?

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