Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Toldot: Of Blessings and Blindness

The key part of Toldot revolves around Yitzchak's blindness which makes him unable to distinguish between his two sons and which ultimately facilitates his blessing of both Yaacov and Esav (and Yaacov again).

The Rabbis provide several reasons for this blindness, the most noteworthy being that it forms part of the traumatic aftermath of the Akeida (by the way, blindness due to trauma isn’t solely a Rabbinic thought. In her book, the Beginnings of Desire, Aviva Zornberg relates that female survivors of the Khmer Rouge massacres in Cambodia later went blind in old age).

The discussion ended over a long passage from Israeli educator Shai Zarchi who compares Yitzchak's blindness with that of his father's, Avraham, who is forced to blind / numb himself to the love of his son in order to carry out God's command at the Akeida.

Zarchi argues that Avraham and Yitzchak represent two different generations and ends with the question of whether we today can find our own synthesis between these different (yet necessary) blindness's.

Click here for an old post I wrote on Zarchi and the Akeida.

Click here for the audio recording and the source sheet (scribd and powerpoint)

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