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    The pit was empty – Vayyeshev

    Joseph & his brothers at the pit

    One of the problems we find in the wording of the sidra is the verse which says that Joseph was thrown into a pit.

    The verse reads, “The pit was empty – there was no water in it” (Gen, 37:24). If there was no water in a pit, the pit was obviously empty.

    But wait. If there was no water there could be something else, and that is what the commentators tell us: The Talmud Shabbat 22a says, “There was no water there but there were serpents and scorpions”.

    It recalls the detective story about Father Brown. The story says, “No-one was there”. In the ordinary course of events the regular things were happening. The postman would come, the gas man, the street sweeper. Because we are used to their presence we don’t notice them and we think no-one was there.

    In the end we discover that emptiness is only relative.

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