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    Pilgrim or progress – Vayyiggash

    Jacob blesses Pharaoh, by Owen Jones, 1869

    Two men have a discussion in this Torah portion. Pharaoh asks Jacob, “How old are you?” Jacob replies, “The length of my pilgrimage has been 130 years”.

    One man speaks of age, the other of pilgrimage. Two words, two outlooks.

    The king is a materialist. His concern is numbers and quantities. Jacob is a philosopher. To him, life has to be going somewhere.

    Judaism (Talmud Shabbat 31a) measures things the Jacob way, not “Where have I got to?” but “Where am I going?” The criterion is not static but dynamic.

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