Friday, December 29, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
Joseph was always Jacob's favorite, the son his beloved wife Rachel. Rabbi Reiss says after Rachel's death Jacob substitutes Joseph as an "object of his special affection." In this comic we imagine that once Jacob believes Joseph dead, Benjamin becomes the object of Jacob's special affection.
Meanwhile, back in Egypt, Joseph decides to have a bit of savagely cruel fun at the expense of his father and siblings. - SHABBAT SHALOM! - a & s
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Joseph's brothers did not sell him into slavery. Judah suggested it, but no one agreed. The bros, violent knuckleheads that they were, threw Joseph down a dry well, then ate lunch. Can you blame them? Between his pompous dreams and Jacob's favoritism, we'd have hated Joseph too! This parsha also tells another story. In it Judah thinks he's sleeping with a prostitute, but is really boinking (and impregnating) his daughter-in-law, Tamar. Our hero, Rabbi Moshe Reiss, explains.
Our telling begins with Joseph tossed down a hole because of his dreams and interpretations. It ends with him thrown into a prison cell with guys who needed their dreams interpreted.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
This parsha is also a wonderful example of peacemaking and its dangers. Shechem, his father Hamor and their community did their best to avoid violence. Like Jacob they offered gifts and kind words. They showed genuine remorse. Esau accepted the propitiation. Simeon and Levi, violent, unloving sleazeballs that they are, did not.
Here's to Esau. Like so many other Torah "villains" he proves himself the most righteous of the bunch.
Friday, December 01, 2006
This is probably the happiest story in the Torah so far. Jacob ends up with everything guys could want: sex and wealth in abundance and true love to boot!
BTW - There is a truly wonderful movie about next week's parsha that we HIGHLY RECOMMEND. - SHABBAT SHALOM! - a & s
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Last week we met Rebecca, the Torah's most precocious three-year-old bride. She married forty-year-old (and apparently not-so-sharp) Isaac. This week, in parsha Toldot, Rebecca becomes a full-fledged matriarch. She has a terrible pregnancy, but G-d (in the first revelation to a woman) tells her she's carrying twin sons, Jacob and Esau, who are slugging it out in her womb. G-d tells her the older will serve the younger.Esau, the first-born, is a ruddy, manly man. Had there been iron-age beer commercials, he'd have been a star. He's a hunter, a lover (he has three wives) and a great son to Isaac. Esau kills stuff, then cooks it up just the way dad likes. Jacob is mama's boy. He stays home, studies, cooks (probably quiche) and he has smooth skin. One day, crafty Jacob takes advantage of Esau's hunger after a hunt and persuades him to sell his first-born rights and privileges for a bowl of bean stew.
Isaac gets old and feels like he's going to die. He decides to have Esau hunt him a nice meal, then give his BIG blessing to his favorite son. But Rebecca overhears Isaac's plan and launches her own. She persuades reluctant Jacob to go along and designs an Esau costume to trick Isaac. Incredibly, the ruse works: Esau is disinherited and G*d gets his way again.
Poor Isaac, the one thing in the world that's truly his, the paternal blessing, he is tricked out of giving to his favorite son by the woman he married when she was three.
Meanwhile, Thanksgiving reminds us of the power and perils of food. - SHABBAT SHALOM! - a & s
Friday, November 17, 2006
His father Abraham leaves him a huge pile of money and makes his trusted servent Eliezer, swear on his (Abraham's) old, wrinkled testicles, to find the perfect girl for Isaac, who is by now nearly forty. Eliezer find this beautiful, kind and hard working three year old, Rebecca. After some negotiating Eliezer gets Rebecca away from her no account family and brings her back to Isaac who is out in field doing... G-d knows what.
Rebecca is so shocked when she sees her goofball betrothed she nearly falls off her camel. But Isaac loves her. He moves Rebecca into his mommy's tent and they become husband and wife.We know that later Rebecca is clearly the brains of the family and ends up manipulating Isaac in a most crude way. Nonetheless as the Torah's most precocious little girl she is the ideal match for a mentally challenged middle aged man.
At least that's the way it is when WE tell the story. - SHABBAT SHALOM! - a & s
Friday, November 10, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
a & s
Friday, October 27, 2006
Last week it was beastiality. Now it's homosexual incest. Next week we've got prostitution and STDs. Boy, I sure am glad the Christian right doesn't know about this book! On the other hand the sex and violence and perversion sure make for a great read. Shabbat Shalom.
Friday, October 20, 2006
We have read and heard the creation story a whole bunch of times. We had read much about Adam's first wife, Lilith. But we never noticed that after declaring that Adam should not be alone, G-d offered him a parade of animals from which to choose a mate. If Bereishit is any indication the year ahead promises more surprises than you can shake a scroll at. Thanks VERY much for reading our comic. We are immensely grateful for your support.
a & s
Friday, September 29, 2006
Al Gore is our comic hero this week. This is Shabbat Shuva and since seeing Gore's movie we have tried to redeem ourselves environmentally. Thus, he gets our nod as Jonah the Green. Come to think of it, these days ol' Al looks like he could use a bit of fasting. As long as we're talking the Gorester, there's still a lot of good stuff happening over at current.tv.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Whatever else you say, you've got to give us some props for the degree of difficulty of this one. The Hannukah story of Hannah and her sons is violent and tragic. In one version of the tale, after her first six sons are slaughtered, Hannah tells her youngest and last surviving son that when he meets Abraham he should inform the patriarch that she had performed a scarifice even greater than his.
We didn't know much about Judaism and martyrs, and still don't. But we now remember that Judiasm, the civil rights movement, the American revolution and darn near everything else worth struggling for has its martyrs.
In our fantasies, maybe we'd respond to a existential challenge the way Hannah did. Then again, the great taste of ham is also from G-d.
But if there is a special section for martyrs in olam haba (the world to come), Hannah should be queen of it.