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Coats, Dreams and Jealousy
Video 13 of 21
There too by the way, it can't mean it literally, I mean, is it literally true that the Jews are the firstborn child of G-d? Are they the first nation that ever exists in the world? It's not even true, it's just like the same pattern that we have in Genesis, which is that the Bechor is not always the Bechor, is not always the firstborn, the Jews are not really the firstborn nation in the world, so to speak. But they occupy the role of the firstborn within G-d's family. Again, so to speak - that is to say, the family of nations.
What I mean by that is, again, what do we really mean when we talk about a firstborn? Talk about a firstborn what's the role of a firstborn? We talked about it in terms of legacy, and if we kind of extrapolate that to sort of the Divine and mankind, if we view mankind as the child so to speak, and the Divine so to speak as the father. So what does really G-d want to do? G-d wants to pass on His legacy or values to the next generation, to the people in the world, but how do you do that? The challenge of course is that in any family there is an inherent desire on the part of children to emulate the parents. The problem is what does it really mean to emulate the parents? If I'm a child how is it that I emulate my father? My father goes to board meetings, my father drives a car, I can't drive a car, so what do I do? In real life how do I try to be like my parent? Here is where you have the crucial of a Bechor, here is where you have the crucial role of the firstborn. What the firstborn does is provide a kind of bridge, to bridge the generation gap. The firstborn takes the parent's agenda and lives it in the world of the child. This is what it means to be like our father in a child's world, so to speak. Then other children can say, oh that's what it means.
So the Jews are meant to be - the Jewish people is meant be G-d's Bechor in the world, which is to say, G-d cares about a relationship with all of mankind, it's not just the Jews, there's all these siblings and any parent wants to have a relationship will all of his children. The problem is what does it mean to be G-d-like? If it's a problem for any child to imitate a parent, all the more so with people trying to imitate a transcendent G-d that you can't touch, that you can't feel. So G-d says no, here's my rules, here's my laws, try to live these values in your world, the world of the child, and thereby demonstrate for the rest of the siblings kind of what it's like. That's the role of the Bechor in the world, of kind of taking the parent's legacy and bringing it to the family at large.
Here's by the way where we get to the wordplay. Let me just take you into this wordplay that I think dramatizes this within the very letters of the Hebrew words themselves. So as you may or may not know Hebrew letters have a numerical value that's known sometimes as Gematria. Now I'm not a big Gematria guy, but this is kind of interesting, so I just want to share it with you for what it's worth, you can take it with a grain of salt, but I do want to show it to you. If you take this word over here, the word for Bechor in Hebrew and you spell it, it looks like this. The three-letter root here; Beit, Chaf, Reish. Now every Hebrew letter has a numerical value. Aleph has a numerical value of one, Beit has a numerical value of two, Gimmel three. So Beit over here which is the second letter in the Hebrew Alphabet is going to have a numerical value of two. It turns out that Chaf has a numerical value of 20, and Reish a numerical value of 200. You see the pattern over here? 2, 20, 200. These are all the twos.
Now what's kind of interesting about this is if you look at the Bechor in relationship say to father, the legacy of the father in the next generation, so of course how do you spell father in Hebrew? Aleph, Beit. Numerically of course, what is that? 1 and 2. So you see kind of the pattern over here. It's really kind of interesting. If you would graph this, you'd almost see it as the following. It's kind of like this parabola that goes like this. It starts with the singularity, the Aleph, but then goes to the Beit, our first 2, and then the connection between this Aleph, Beit and this Bechor, it goes to 2, to 20, to 200, and it kind of expands out. What happens is that the Bechor becomes the vehicle through which this expansion happens, this sort of geometric expansion of the values of father towards the world at large.
So just kind of an interesting wordplay, I just think it's kind of curious and interesting, and for what it's worth want to share it with you.
But I want to come back to the question which I left you with, having talked here a little bit about the significance of Bechor, are there any textual implications that suggest that this theory which I've suggested to you, which at this point is really just speculation, that Yaakov was looking to Yosef as his Bechor in the family, that this idea is actually true? Is there any other evidence that would support this? To take it out of the realm of just sort of interesting speculation coming off of this Medrashic comment.
So I want to come back to that with you in our upcoming video and I'll see you on the other side.
1. What Were They Thinking?
2. Building Tensions
3. From Hatred to Jealousy
4. What Was Jacob Thinking?
5. A Break From the Action
6. The Original Internet
7. The Hidden Hyperlinks
8. A Confluence of Echoes
9. Where Have I Heard This Before?
10. The Brothers' Perspective
11. When Three Are One
12. Will the Real Firstborn Please Stand Up?
13. Bechor: A Tale of Twos
14. Rabbi Soloveitchik's Theory
15. Joseph's Undershirt
16. The Meaning of the Second Coat
17. Four Links
18. Double Entendre
19. The Riddle of the Bowing Moon
20. The Hidden Angel
21. Chain of Words
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