Friday, November 29, 2013

The Challenge of Fitting In

The weekly Torah reading of Miketz (Genesis 41:1-44:17), which almost always coincides with Chanukah, tells the story of the rise of Joseph the son of Jacob from slave to viceroy. And while Miketz contains no Jewish oppression, no battles, and no outright miracles, Joseph’s story could well be viewed as a stark contrast to the story of Chanukah.

The story of Joseph is an affirmation of how to remain true to one’s faith while still succeeding in a non-Jewish society. He spoke Egyptian without an accent and pretended not to understand Hebrew. He dressed in royal robes. The people called him Tzaphenath Pa'nayach. Joseph was so well disguised by his Egyptian identity that even his own brothers could not recognize him.

Throughout his stunning career, however, Joseph never forgot who he was. When Joseph finally revealed himself, he declared: “...for it was to preserve life that God sent me before you” (Genesis 45:5).

Joseph recognized that his ability to maintain his faith, while living as an Egyptian, was beyond most people. That is why, when his entire family came to settle in Egypt, he asked Pharaoh to allow them to settle in Goshen as shepherds, separated from the Egyptian people by land and profession.

Chanukah celebrates Jewish identity and the determination of the people to fight assimilation. When the Syrian-Greeks conquered the land of Israel, they presented their Hellenistic lifestyle as one that was exalted and universal. But as Jews took on the external affectations of the Greeks--their dress, their language, their names--they did not have Joseph’s strength to eschew the heathen practices that were integral to the Hellenistic lifestyle.

Assimilation into surrounding cultures with a corresponding loss of Jewish identity has always been a challenge for the Jewish people. Joseph met the challenge successfully, can we?

This Treat was last posted on December 14, 2012.

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1 comment:

Tào Nam said...

những cách giảm cân cho bà bầu sau sinh là những cách nào nhỉ? có hiệu quả không? thực phẩm giúp giảm cân sau sinh có hiệu quả đối với cơ thể bà bầu không, ngoài ra nó có bổ sung đủ chất dinh dưỡng không. những thực phẩm bà bầu nên kiêng là những thực phẩm nào và nó có ảnh hưởng đến thai nhi không, hieu biet khi mang thai của chúng tôi sẽ là cẩm nang cần thiết cho các bạn trong giai đoạn mang thai, ba bau co nen an các món ăn nào và nó bổ sung dinh dưỡng đủ cho cơ thể không, hieu biet khi mang thai rất có ích cho bà mẹ mang thai.