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Confronting Their Past

FullSizeRender copy(Above,  Stefanie Steinberg’s, Joseph’s Brothers Bowing Down Before Him)

Quick Comment Parashat Miketz, Genesis 41:1 – 44:17

 I consider Stefanie Steinberg’s “Joseph Brothers Bowing Before Him” a masterpiece. I hung it with pride in my office for 25 years. Now it hangs in our home.

Stefanie is my mother-in-law, and those who follow my web page essays know that at 94 she is still an active artist.

She is also the subject of a magnificent exhibition conceived and curated by Pastor Ursula Sieg of Bad Segeberg, Germany. The exhibit is about Stefanie’s life and travels from Breslau where she was born to San Francisco where she lives today.

In this week’s Torah portion Joseph rises from the dungeon to become second in command of all Egypt. During a famine many come to Joseph to buy food. His brothers are among them.

They do not recognize Joseph, but he recognizes them. He has been waiting for them. And now years after they threw him into a pit and sold him as a slave, they bow before him

When Stefanie Steinberg heard that Vickie and I planned to work in Germany for ten weeks in 2014 she said, “Why do you want to go there?

But after she saw that students were studying her life and her journeys, and after she heard their voice messages expressing their appreciation to her, she began to soften.

Like Joseph’s brothers did to him–Germany once did unspeakable evil to the Jews.

In the biblical story Joseph tested his brothers until he knew their repentance was sincere.

Similarly Germany has sincerely shown its desire as a nation to ask forgiveness and make restitution for the horrors they inflicted on our people.

We cannot undo the past, but we can shape a better future for our children, grandchildren and all the generations to come.

 

4 thoughts on “Confronting Their Past

  1. Thank you, Rabbi Edelman! Stefanie is remarkable, and the connection between this painting—which to my knowledge was the only biblical scene she painted—and what we try to do in Germany hit me for the first time when I began to write this essay.

    Like

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