Bound for Budapest and Prague
Two Jewish quarters

This week's portion: vision and grief

Hello again, all! I'm home from my travels, and belatedly posting last week's d'var Torah, for parashat Chayyei Sarah.

Last week's portion begins with the death of Sarah, and we learn that Abraham grieved her passing. This year, I explored that text through the lens of one of my favorite films, Wim Wenders' Until the End of the World, and found resonance in the way the fictional character of Dr. Henry Farber refracts the story of Abraham:

[Farber] is a wanderer, headstrong, driven by his passions. He nearly sacrifices his relationship with his son -- not in as literal a way as Abraham, but in a way that's no less real for its allegorical qualities -- on the altar of his devotion to what he believes is right.

That devotion is, let me be clear, arguably legitimate, or at least difficult to dismiss out-of-hand. He has dedicated decades to his quest to give his beloved wife, blind since childhood, the gift of sight. He is a passionate believer in science and progress and possibility. But his devotion blinds him in certain ways. Emotionally, spiritually, psychologically he fails to see what's right in front of him, and he's blind to how his actions, and his damaged relationship with their son, impact his wife's fragile health.

FYI, the post does contain spoilers for the film (though since it came out in 1991, I'm hoping no one will mind.)

Read the whole thing here: Vision and grief.

Technorati tags: , , , .