Lesson from a jumbled timeline

Look what happened throughout Jewish history with all of the warning signs presented in the Torah and the Tanach.

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Phil Chernofsky,

Phil Chernofsky with Holocaust Memorail Book
Phil Chernofsky with Holocaust Memorail Book
Ben Bresky

Let's first explain what we mean by jumbled timeline.

We will not pay attention to who or what came first or last or in-between - literally everything will be mixed up timewise but not the way we experience various events, namely with Torah reading and haftara and the calendar.

We've been reading in the Torah about the enmity between the brothers and Yosef. Those readings have taken us from the very beginning through the reunion and reconcilliation of the brothers with Yosef. If we add in the haftara, we find a prophecy of the reunion of the Tribes of Israel.

Unfortunately, the prophecy was hundreds of years after the original problems and spoke about a reunion that can still take a long time to be realized. Chanuka deals with tension between Jews who remain true to Torah and its values and Jews who distance themselves from Torah and Mitzvot and embrace and assimilate into other cultures.

The upcoming fast day of ASARA B'TEVET marks the start of Churban Beit HaMikdash and - in recent times - has taken on the added commemoration of the Holocaust. One lesson that we might draw from some of this mixture presents itself by virtue of the fact that ASARA B'TEVET is a mere week after Chanuka's end.

Although ASARA B'TEVET happened long before the Chanuka story, we perceive it as being very close in time because of our celebration of Chanuka and our observance of the fast day. It therefore impacts on us the irony that we can celebrate victories and miracles and so soon thereafter lament not only the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash (yes, 10 Tevet marks the beginning of the siege around Yerushalayim that only years later led to the CHURBAN, but that's how it started) but the various causes that led to the destruction. And since we are allowing our timeline to be jumbled, the causes of the destruction of the 2nd Beit HaMikdash also enter the mix. And since that deals with interpersonal problems, it fits well with Chanuka and with Yosef and his brothers. Vayeishev through Vaychi span a mere four weeks, but unfortunately the reconcilliation of the sons of Yaakov did not hold.

We can even say that the many splits within our society are manifestations in some way of the original Yosef and his brothers problem. Because we have distorted the flow of time, our challenge becomes: look what happened with Yosef and his brothers - how do we do things differently? Look what happened throughout Jewish history with all of the warning signs presented in Torah and Tanach. These things happen over and over again and we have to be a generation that will set things right.


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