Student Teaching in the New Millenium

Action in the Morning

In Genesis on January 5, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I beg with rice bowl /
Watch coin drop into it /
to feed hungry youth

1 Kings 2.1-2.12
Genesis 47.28-50.26

Parsha Vayechi

What does the blessing of Benjamin mean?

Benjamin is a wolf that raveneth; in the morning he devoureth the prey, and at even he divideth the spoil.
(Genesis 49.27)

Wolves are nocturnal creatures, and the Alpha Wolf eats first. Why does Benjamin devour the prey in the morning rather than evening, and who is he to eat first?

Shouldn’t the wolf have eaten in the even? It is said “and there was evening and there was morning.” Why would the wolf eat in the morning? Perhaps the hunt lasted all night, and it was appropriate to eat in the morning? It is said that wolves avoid the light of day. Perhaps he felled the prey at the nashef, the break of day, just as the darkness begins to give way.

Before this it says he raveneth. He’s hungry. He must eat. Perhaps he eats in the morning because it is necessary. Why? He’s the youngest son of Israel. His father dotes on an elder brothers’ grandchildren. He’ll be the last to feed in this pack. He must feed himself.

Benjamin does what must be done. He decides on his course of action, and executes it without hesitation. He doesn’t act until he knows what he must do. This is the meaning of the space between raveneth and in the morning he devours the prey. He takes his time to decide. How else would he know what to do? Do spot, rash decisions give insight and wisdom?

Benjamin eats first. Is this selfish behavior? No, he divideth the spoil at even. Amongst who? Benjamin takes care of himself and his compatriots in need. This is something else he’s thought on and decided he must do. This is the meaning of the space between prey and at the even he divideth the spoil.

Barzillai the Gileadite distributes beds, and basins, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and meal, and parched corn, and beans, and lentils, and parched pulse, and honey, and curd, and sheep, and cheese of kine to David because The people is hungry, and faint, and thirsty, in the wilderness. (2 Samuel 17.28-29) How would he have had these things to give if he had not provided for himself first? David does the same for Barzillai, instructing his son Solomon to welcome him to his table. How could David do this if he had not provided for himself first?

The Alpha Wolf isn’t elected. The Alpha Wolf dares to lead.

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