Last Stop in Genesis

O holy Shabbes Inspiration Vayechi
Maqam Hijaz D Eb F# G

Father Jacob is really living now
even in Egypt he is alive
we want to believe
as he dies
we want to know
life, real life, full life
can happen

Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years
and the days of Jacob, the years of his life,
his two lives
were one hundred and forty seven years.
The time approached for Israel to die
so he called for his son, for Joseph
. . . [Gen.47:28-29]

His two lives were about over
the life of Jacob
the life of Israel
the man had two lives
new starts surprises transformations
sometimes Jacob
sometimes Israel
the giver the taker

as he is about to die
I am fishing around in the Torah
for the beginning of the section
because it is closed
closed — no separation between this week’s text
and last week’s text — in the physical Torah.

Go to the poet Rashi
the eyes of Israel (we the people)
were closed because of the passing of dear Jacob
and the crafty Egyptians were rolling the story
towards slavery.

Our decline a series of events
— can we enter the story and stop it at any place?
As if you may stop the movement towards catastrophe.

Something else from Rashi
the portion is closed —
Jacob has something he wants to reveal to his children

the end
but it was closed off to him [see midrash B.Rabbah 96:1]
the end is a revelation
it’s the end of all Exile
the end of time
he wanted to reveal to his children ultimates
but it is closed off to him.

There are some elusives, unfinishables
at the end of life
Jacob wants to give them over to his children
but he can’t.
What he does give over is blessings
poetry, visions spoken in metaphor
but the ultimate redemption
the end of time
reminds closed off to him.

Jacob needs the assurance
he will be buried with his ancestors
Israel – not the place where his wife is buried
who he describes this way:
she died on me in the land of Canaan on the road [48:7]
died on me? Something unfinished here too.

Closed off and elusive
visions dreams and songs
at the end of Jacob’s life
the end of Genesis
no ends at all, no beginnings
the illusion of all endings all beginnings
all arrivals all starts
there is only journey and movement and the inevitable ebb and flow
no starts and stops at all
it doesn’t begin and it doesn’t end
it’s the great river that flows out of itself
into itself.

the death of Jacob
the death of Joseph
the end of Genesis
the narratives of the Mothers and Fathers
the beginning of Exile
it’s closed —

a seam
no sides even
Jacob pulls up his legs and dies

what then –

jsg, usa