Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Vayeshev / Chanukah: Between Athens and Jerusalem

This week we looked at three stores from Parshat Vayeshev which reflect one core difference between Athens and Jerusalem, and provide provide a contemporary message for Chanukah.

In each one of these stories, clothes are used to deceive. Yaacov mistakenly thinks Joseph's bloodied coat means he is dead. Yehudah mistakenly considers Tamar a prostitute. Potiphar's wife uses Yosef's garment as false proof to convince her husband that Yosef has been disloyal.

Unlike Greek culture which focuses on sight (statues, painting, architecture, sculpture, sport etc), Jonathan Sacks argues that Judaism focuses on sound. In fact, this idea - that we experience more fully using our ears rather than eyes - is also reflected in Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink, in which he explains how putting up screens for orchestra auditions immediately led to a change of hiring practices. As Gladwell explains, "Clearly what was happening before was that, in ways no one quite realized, the act of seeing a given musician play was impairing the listener's ability to actually hear what a musician was playing."

We concluded with a beautiful story in which God teaches Eliyahu that He is not be found in the extremes (fire, earthquake, wind) but rather in a Kol Demama Daka, a short, still voice (the sound of silence). The exchange provides another example of how we find God through listening rather than seeing.

Click here for the
source sheet and the audio recording (Tel Aviv Shiur) (Jerusalem Shiur)

Chanukah Sameach

1 comment:

Ibrahimblogs said...

Chanukah Sameach.

Your post is intriguing and interesting as always. You fascinate me!

But, I think there was a "typo" error in the beginning where "stories" have become "stores".

This is Ibrahim from Israeli Uncensored News