Melissa Weintraub

The Uses and Dangers of Numbness

In this week’s portion, Va’yigash, Jacob’s sons return from Egypt to inform Jacob that Joseph, his long-lamented son, is still alive. Jacob has never recovered from Joseph’s loss. He has been in a protracted state of mourning, spurning all comfort, resigned to grieve until death. So heavy is Jacob’s anguish that, even

The Road to Refuge Must Be Broad

Like most children at 9 and 10, I fantasized of special powers, pretending with a single word or wave of a wand that I could teleport objects, sprout wings, see colors crisply in the dark. But one capacity in particular I tried forcefully to materialize — a kind of X-ray vision that could decipher, within others, what I called their “inner