Genesis: The Beginning of Desire

By Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg | Go to book overview

VA-YIGGASH


The Pit and the Rope

The stolen goblet: four sentences

Perhaps the most dramatic break between Parshiot of the Torah is the one that precedes Judah's great speech to Joseph, pleading for Benjamin's liberty. The tension that fuses the scene is strangely broken before the words va-yiggash eilav yehudah -- "Then Judah went up to him and said, 'Please, my lord . . .'"(44:18). For the narrative is clearly one seamless unit -- the discovery of Joseph's goblet "planted" in Benjamin's sack, the brothers returned to the palace in astonished silence, Joseph's reproach, and Judah's response, which directly precipitates Joseph's revelation of his true identity. And yet in uncanny counterpoint to that seamlessness, that thrust of dramatic intention toward the dénouement of the plot, a different structure imposes itself, with an ending and a new beginning, in the very midst of the dialogue between Joseph and Judah.

A closer look at this structure will lead us to focus on an apparently simple question: what, according to the different voices in the drama, is to happen to the brothers, if the goblet is indeed found with them?1 The terms of punishment change several times, and in suggestive ways, in the course of a few lines.

At first, when the brothers are accused by Joseph's servant, they answer in innocent outrage: "Whichever of your servants it is found with shall die; the rest of us, moreover, shall become slaves to my lord" (44:9). They have no knowledge of any such theft, and can speak with utter innocence of the goblet's being found in anyone's possession, and of the death penalty for the guilty one. Implicitly, however, they distance themselves as a group from such a hypothetical -- though at this point inconceivable -- offense: if there were to be such a finding, then they assert their difference from the criminal -- they will be slaves, while he will die.

-314-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Genesis: The Beginning of Desire
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • The Pivoting Point 3
  • Kindness and Ecstasy 37
  • Travails of Faith 72
  • Language and Silence 97
  • Vertigo -- the Residue of the Akedah 123
  • Sincerity and Authenticity 144
  • Dispersions 180
  • The Quest for Wholeness 216
  • Re-Membering the Dismembered 243
  • The Absence of the Imagination 284
  • The Pit and the Rope 314
  • The Beginning of Desire 352
  • Index of Sources 431
  • General Index 441
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 460

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.