May I Have a WORD With You? – MAYRACHOK


Mayrachok – מרחק – From Far Away

They saw him *from far away*, and before he came close to them they conspired to kill him. (Genesis 37:18)

The brothers were /Mayrachok/ – מרחק from Joseph when they decided to kill him. What kind of distance was it — physical, emotional, spiritual? Yes! If they were not /Mayrachok/ – מרחק from Joseph would they have made the same decision? If they were in his physical proximity would they have felt the same anger or rage that led them to want to do violence upon him. If they were close enough to hear him speak and hear the nuance in his words, would they have still heard the brash, arrogant tones those same words contained in their minds. If they stood near to him and felt his presence, saw their familial resemblance, remembered his human frailties, would they have been able to see beyond their own insecurities, anxieties and frailties.

So, I ask myself … how often are my own judgements made /Mayrachok/ – מרחק? Do I place myself in the nearness and intimacy of another before I conspire against them? Do I place myself to sit close to them in all of their humanity? We may not find ourselves in greater alignment. I may not find myself less frustrated or angry. I may, however, find myself reacting and responding in a way that does not keep me /Mayrachok/ – מרחק.

May I Have A WORD With You? – MATZEVAH

Jacob took the stone that he had placed under his head and set it up as a *MATZEVAH* and poured oil on top of it. (Genesis 28:18)

One person’s talisman, may be another’s tzotchkee.  This week the Torah tells us the story of, Jacob, our spiritual ancestor and his life changing experience. There was a ladder, an ascending and descending angel and God standing next to him (or on him depending on how you interpret the text) bearing witness to watching it all. Jacob wakes up, profoundly impacted by the dream. So much so, he takes the rock pillow that served as the foundation for that evening’s sleep and anoints it as a MATZEVAH.

Most translations use the word ‘pillar’. Pillar does not quite capture what is happening to the modern ear.  We need a word that describes the act of taking an everyday, ordinary object — one that happened to be involved in an extra-ordinary event — and announcing or acknowledging at as something else. Something to preserve.  Something to cherish.  Something to honor.  A MATZEVAH.

No matter what word we may choose, chances are we all have MATZEVAHS populating the spaces we inhabit. It may be the object that some tradition or community tells us is significant. Or, it may be something that only you deem as worth of such a designation. Just like Jacob, we categorize and catalog these ‘rock pillows’ of ours to help us remember, capture and recreate the magic and the power of those experiences which made them into a MATZEVAH in the first place.

It is great, even important to make these MATZEVAHS. In our lives we need access to all of the magic and meaning we can get. We also have to pay attention, too, as we human beings have a penchant for transforming these objects – that serve as reminders of past moments or catalysts for future moments – into more. Sometimes, these MATZEVAHS, stop being the means but the ends themselves. Instead of pathways towards meaning, these objects become stumbling blocks that get in the way of us experiencing what we ultimately seek.

We do know that as impactful as Jacob’s ladder dream was to him … there will be more dreams in his future. I would like to think that his rock pillow MATZEVAH served as catalyst to open his heart and mind to the transformative dreams that will follow.

I will strive make sure my MATZEVAHS  do the same.