imaginary family values presents

yesh omrim

a blog that reclines to the left


In exile, even within the Land of Israel

13 January 2004

When Jacob’s funeral procession crossed the Jordan River, his sons immediately began a seven-day period of eulogies and mourning for him (Genesis 50:10). The text goes on to say that the Canaanites “said, this is a solemn Egyptian grief; therefore, [the place] is called Grief of Egypt, over the Jordan River” (50:11). In Egypt, Jacob’s children had to be separated from the Egyptian population, because Egyptians hated shepherds (46:34). But upon entering Canaan, they’re treated as Egyptians.

I’m reminded of a complaint by some of the Soviet Jews who immigrated to Israel, back when there was a Soviet Union, and when applying for an exit visa marked a Soviet citizen as a traitor to the motherland: in the Soviet Union, they were Jews rather than Russians; in Israel, they were Russians rather than Israelis.