Monday, June 19, 2017

מְצַחֵֽק


Fathers Day, a lovely day with beloveds, a perfect daughter day, remembering growing up with them over the years, that I was growing up too.

Remembering, too, as Time does its thing on me, when my grandparents were the age I am now, this is grandparent age to enjoy, to live, and to be. WTH, it’s grgrparent age, isn’t it.

To bed at six o’clock last evening, up at midnight for about an hour, back to bed until five, now watching the clock and ready to walk, now six and out the door. 

Breakfast on 7H porch now, sharing last two slices of quiche lorraine, mine sprinkled with designer soy sauce, small bowl of baked beans mixed with teaspoon of artisanal bacon jam, all delicious, tasty and good. Typing fast because, gulped five minutes ago, the morning pills will take twenty minutes to render my earthly remains useless for anything but nap; no talk, no walk, no think. 

Week ahead. Here’s our Bible story for next Sunday:

Genesis 21:8-21
The child (Isaac) grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.” The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named for you. As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.

When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Do not let me look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.” Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink.

God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

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This, to me, is another of several Bible stories of Abraham’s shamefulness, that, here henpecked, he would let Sarah tell him how to treat his firstborn son Ishmael. But then I remember and begin to look behind. The NRSV (above) says that Sarah saw Ishmael “playing with her son Isaac.” Ah yes, “playing with” … מְצַחֵֽק we’ve looked at this word before, haven’t we, in this very context and in others … 

מְצַחֵֽק  sport, play Genesis 21:9, Exodus 32:6; make sport for Judges 16:25 (לִפְנֵי; "" וִישַׂחֶקלָֿ֑נוּ); toy with (אֶת), of conjugal caresses Genesis 26:8, make a toy of, with ב, Genesis 39:14,17 (all J). (BibleHub)

Of מְצַחֵֽק another translation says "mocking". Check it out yourself if you will, I’m thinking of various takes on מְצַחֵֽק that on this day when Isaac was weaned and must have been five years old, Sarah caught Ishmael, who was now 18 years old and in late adolescence, abusing Isaac and, appalled, incensed, disgusted, infuriated, Sarah enraged Mother told Abraham, who was heartbroken, what she had seen, and they did what they considered necessary to protect the little boy. 

Abraham is our eponymous father; Ishmael a father of Islam; Isaac a father of JacobIsrael, the Jews and us Christians. With the, and daily intensifying, hatred between Us and Them, I’m wistfully thinking how different today’s world might have been had Sarah not glanced out the window that day. 

Robert Frost again then, 
The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.



Looking back all of life, I never cease to be amazed as I recognize the scores of roads diverging, and wonder about the ones not taken.

DThos+

Pics:
Top: thanks PB407
Bottom: Morning from 7H

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