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One of the great Torah lessons was taught to me by David Hays, noted Broadway set designer and long-time collaborator with the late George Ballanchine of the New York City Ballet.

David is a regular and enthusiastic student of the Torah and he offered this thought many years ago during discussion of the portion Vayishlach

He noted that when Esau and Jacob reconcile in the field (which could easily have turned into a field of battle) one of the witnesses to this moment of fraternal forgiveness was young Joseph.  As David put it, “If I was designing the scene, the primary focus would be not on Jacob and Esau hugging, but on the reaction in the face of young Joseph.  It was clearly this moment which helped lead decades later to Joseph forgiving and reconciling with his own brothers in Egypt”.  David continued, “A good director would push us to observe not only the older brothers, but the effect that this moment had on the young man watching”.  

I have shared this insight for years, and always find that people experience the reunion of Jacob and Esau differently because of it.


Shabbat Shalom




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