In their great love my parents saved me from disappointment,
from pain and sorrow. Now I am left with their savings
plan the pain I would like to spare my children.
How all those savings have piled up on me!
The 20th Century Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai wrote a number of poems that clearly reference the Akedah [Binding of Isaac, Genesis/Breishit 22]. But I think this section of “My Parents’ Lodging Place” — from the collection, Open Closed Open — reaches the heart of the Akedah as well as anything he – or anyone else – has written about it… even if he didn’t plan it that way.
You shall then recite as follows before your God YHVH: “My father was a fugitive Aramean. [Arami oved avi] He went down to Egypt…bringing us to this place and giving us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. Wherefore I now bring the first fruits of the soil which You, YHVH, have given me.” (Plaut/Stein)
Devarim/Deuteronomy 18:13 contains a command to be “wholehearted [tamim]” with God. I found the same English word, “wholehearted,” used in seven different sources, two commentaries and all five Torah translations on which I regularly rely: Alter, Fox, Jewish Publication Society, modified JPS (The Torah: A Women’s Commentary) and Scherman (Stone Edition); see Source Materials for citation details.
Devarim/Deuteronomy 7:12 — first verse of the portion Eikev*
And if you do [v’haya eikev]* obey these rules and observe them faithfully, the LORD your God will maintain for you the gracious covenant that He made on oath with your fathers: — JPS/Plaut
This week’s Torah portion is Vayechi (“Jacob lived [in the land of Egypt]… “) — Genesis 47:28 – 50:26 — which closes the book of Genesis.
A few weeks back (Vayishlach, Gen. 32:4 -36:43), we read of Rachel’s death and Dinah’s rape.