“ולבנימין אמר: ידיד יהוה ישכן לבטח עליו חפף עליו כל היום ובין כתפיו שכן”
What does the last parsha in the Torah, and Rashi, have to tell me through the blessing given to my namesake before Moshe dies? “And to Binyamin he said: the beloved of Hashem will dwell eternally on [or by] Him, He screens him all day and between his shoulders will he rest” (33:13, translation mine). What does it mean to dwell eternally between the shoulders of Hashem? Rashi brings to the conversation the idea that Jerusalem, and hence the Beit Hamikdash, the Temple, was in Binyamin’s portion of the divided land. And the Mechilta states that once the presence of Hashem, the Sechina, settled in Jerusalem (once Jerusalem was chosen as the eternal capital of the Jewish people), it never left. Further, Rashi brings the analogy that, concerning an ox, there is no more pleasant part than between its shoulders. Now while that may be referring to the choicest meat, one could easily make the more apt analogy to getting a piggy-back ride from a parent or close friend – it is an immense feeling of security being transported on another’s shoulders. In my own life, two ideas come to mind when confronted with this blessing. First, that I have truly been screened, in the sense of protected and cared for, throughout all my days (Rashi considers the phrase “all day” to refer to ‘all time). Second, given the fact that I am spending much of my time immersed in Jewish text study, I see the image of the “beloved of Hashem” and one who dwells between Hashem’s shoulders as one who is privileged enough to study and reflect upon the collective wisdom of the Jewish people – in connection to the wisdom of all surrounding cultures – in peace and security. In these ways, I really see the haiku project as embodying what Moshe blessed the tribe of Binyamin with, and hope to continue to be able to engage in such study and reflection.
Dwelling in sure peace
Human flourishing follows
תם ונשלם פירוש רש”י על התורה