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Comments for entry Examining Dry Bones
Examining Dry Bones
I wonder how many people would understand what this post to the Dry Bones article means:
"Esav sonneh et yaacov... both when he comes with the sword, or without . Yaacov prayed: "save me from my brother, from Esav". Why say both? (He had only 1 brother....)
He was asking G-d, save me when he acts like a brother; save me when he acts like (the sword -bearing) Esav...."
This quote seems to be from the Talmud. Esav is Hebrew for Esau the brother of Jacob, Yaacov in Hebrew. Esau wanted to kill Jacob after Jacob managed to get the blessing from their father for the land of Israel. Jacob prayed to God that he be protected. You would have thought that he'd pray asking to be saved from Esau using his name Esau or by referring to him as his brother. The rabbis noticed that instead Jacob used both terms, Esau, my brother. That is strange so the rabbis see in this that there is a deeper meaning.
When he said "Esau", he was saying protect me from the man Esau who hates me and wants to kill me. When he said, "my brother" he was saying protect me even when he doesn't hate me and doesn't want to kill me. In other words, Jacob knows that no matter how Esau feels about him or how he acts, deep down Esau does not accept him and will never be someone who he can totally trust. Therefore he asks God to protect him from Esau no matter how he acts or feels.
The Talmudic rabbis said that the Romans were the spiritual descendants of Esau. And the Romans became Christians. So a modern view of this ancient story would be that it is teaching Jews to be weary of Christians or any Gentile no matter how they treat you. If they want to kill you (like many Muslims do today) of course you must be weary of them. But if they are like brothers to you and speak kindly and even support you, still be weary, because deep down they don't totally accept you and want to convert you.
Now, is this true of all Christians? I would say no. But still, Jews must always be aware that there are many people out there who seek to convert them. Some do it by the sword, and others do it with a smile.
I hope that's not offensive, but the bottom line to me is that Jews have a right to be Jews and not have to endlessly fight off conversion attempts no matter what the motivation or who they come from.
Author: Von Cello Eintrag from 16.11.2009
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