Student Teaching in the New Millenium

A Nation Of Peoples (5772 Vayigash)

In Genesis on January 1, 2012 at 5:45 pm

I don’t pick and choose
What veggies are on my plate.
They’re all good for me.

Ezekiel 37.15-28
Genesis 44.18-47.27

The prophet Exekiel prophecies the unification of the Israelites. If this is so, why is emphasis placed on the language of many and not one? Ezekiel says…

Of Judah and the Israelites associated with him
Of Joseph — the stick of Ephraim — and all the House of Israel associated with him. (37.16)

Thus said the Lord GOD: I am going to take the stick of Joseph — which is in the hand of Ephraim — and of the tribes of Israel associated with him, and I will place the stick of Judah upon it and make them into one stick; they shall be joined in My hand. (37.19)

The prophet takes special care to even celebrate the diversity of the people in anticipation of this unification. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God. (37.23) Why does Ezekiel do this?

Ezekiel recognizes the sanctity of the individual. His is possibly one of the most individualistic ministries of the prophets, marked by odd statements and visions and, legend says, seizuring in public. Ezekiel’s relationship with us is an apt allegory for our own relationships with others: how often do other’s behaviors make no sense to you? How often do our own behaviors make no sense to other people? Ezekiel doesn’t discuss the unification of the people at the hip as an utterly collective body, homogenized by some epic religious spiritual lobotomy. He advocates the unification of the people in peace, and in celebration of our differences towards common purposes.

Isn’t marriage an exercise in this idea? How about procreation?

Ezekiel’s question for the parsha is this. Does the people include the people of Egypt?


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