Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Once a bad place always a bad place..

Parshat Vayeshev

The above title is referring specifically to the city of Shechem.
The Torah tells us that Yaakov sent Yosef to Shechem to meet his brothers. Rashi informs us that Shechem is a place that "is designated" for trouble. An example of this (aside from what happened to Yosef when he went to meet his brothers) is the story of Dina and Shimon-Levy that happened in Shechem.
From it's auspicious beginning we already know that pretty much whenever Shechem is mentioned it will be in regards to something bad. Even nowadays Shechem is a very troublesome place, more so than many other areas that could be worse. Shechem is a hotbed of terrorism and Islamic radicalism.
I find it a bit ironic that when the Jews came out of Egypt, they brought with them to the Holy Land the bones of Yosef Hatzadik for reinterment in Israel. Where was he buried? in Shechem. Yosef Hatzadik whose troubles and conflicts led us beginning with Shechem to be exiled down to Egypt (though he ended up as viceroy, it was bad for the rest of us, and he was separated from his beloved father for so long), he himself was returned to the place where it all began.

I wonder if the concept Rashi discusses here is true of Shechem and only Shechem or is Rashi just giving us an example of a bad place, but there are others as well. What I mean is, if I know about another place that always has trouble, can i take Rashi's concept and say no good will ever come out of this place and therefore stay away, or do I not have a right to say that - only Shechem because it is specifically mentioned?
I suspect the former is true and Shechem is just the first and clearest example of it in the Torah. If you know of a place that is "nothing but trouble", you are best off staying away from there.

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