Thibble Thursday: On the Road Again (Genesis 32:4–36:43)

Eep, hope this doesn’t get to be a habit. I was preparing for travel yesterday and changing the OS on my desktop computer, so that’s my excuse; today I was on the road all day, so this goes up quite late. Anyways, this week’s section is פָּרָשַׁת וישלח (“And he sent” portion). We’re actually moving through Genesis quite quickly!

The quick snarky summary: Jacob wrestles with an angel and meets up with his brother Esau, who in the last couple decades has mellowed out a bit. He then tries to settle his enormous entourage down, but suffers tribulations on account of various transgressive sex acts and the appallingly bad judgment of his sons.

Gory (in some cases literally) details

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Thibble Thursday: Battle of Wits (Genesis 28:10–32:3)

(Hey, it’s still Wednesday in California. Cut me a break.)

So we move on this week to פָּרָשַׁת ויצא (“And he left” portion), which unambiguously establishes Jacob as the protagonist and gives him a worthy antagonist.

The quick snarky summary: Jacob goes to work for his uncle after having some visions on the way, and remains surprisingly placid about having seven years worth of labor defrauded from him. Burdened with women, he undertakes to raise an enormous passle of children and get his uncle back for the dirty trick, using a ruse which is as clever as it is genetically unsound. Laban proves to be a poor sport about the whole thing.

Round 1: Fight!

Wibble Wednesday: All This Has Happened Before (Genesis 25:19–28:9)

This week I’ll be discussing פָּרָשַׁת תולדת (“Descendants” portion) which includes most of the interesting events of Isaac’s life. I use the word “interesting” very loosely here.

The quick snarky summary: With Abraham dead, his dim, passive son is thrust into the role of primary protagonist, for which he is singularly unsuited. He tries doing exactly what his father did, but that doesn’t really push the narrative forwards, so his children up the tension with a bit of sibling rivalry.

The when, where, how, and why

Wibble Wednesday: Two weddings and a funeral (Genesis 23:1–25:18)

Next up we have פָּרָשַׁת חיי שרה (“Life of Sarah” portion), which pretty much closes out the interesting events of the life of the first patriarch, Abraham.

The quick snarky summary: Sarah dies, and Abraham makes a few last deals for the benefit of the family because he knows he can’t trust his wastrel son to do them. He gets a family burial plot and fixes the kid up with a wife, and figures that’s enough to get the dynasty through at least one generation. Just to see if he can’t maybe get a son who’s actually good at something, he remarries and has a few more kids, but ultimately decides Isaac’s the closest thing he’s got to an actual heir.

Shuffling off some mortal coils

Wibble Wednesday: Banned by the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (Genesis 18:1–22:24)

Next up we have is פָּרָשַׁת וירא (“And he was seen” portion), including a lot of the most significant events of Abraham’s life; after this he’s going to end up taking a back seat, mostly, so his son can step forward.

The quick snarky summary: Abraham finally gets guests, and his guests prophesy reproductive miracles. Meanwhile, God’s smiter-finger gets itchy, and he decides that it’s time for another wanton act of destruction. Abraham tries to talk him out of it but doesn’t drive quite a hard enough bargain. Lot manages to get in trouble again, we learn about the sin of Sodom (spoiler: it isn’t homosexuality), and get some hot father-daughter action. Abraham re-enacts one of his earlier interpersonal dramas with an entirely new case, and Sarah has a kid. The kids then proceed to act out hilariously age-inappropriate dramas.

This is what we do to strangers here in the terebinths of Mamre