Last week I was in Southern California, where I grew up and where my most of my family has always lived. One of my nephews had unearthed a box of old family photos that he is now copying and cataloging, including some of Jewish ancestors I can’t even identify for sure. Viewing pictures of my grandparents and parents and my own early years made for a melancholy day. My father has been gone for twelve years and my mother for seven and a half, but the photos made my sense of loss fresh. I’m an orphan. But viewing the pictures was a healthy thing too—it’s right, even if it’s sad, to remember those who’ve gone before us and how much they’ve given us. We would not be what we are without all the resources our forebears laid upon us.
Jacob settled in the land of his father's sojournings, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob: when Joseph was seventeen years old, being a shepherd, he was with his brothers with the flocks, and he was a lad, [and was] with the sons of Bilhah and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives; and Joseph brought evil tales about them to their father. And Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was a son of his old age; and he made him a fine woolen coat. And his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, so they hated him, and they could not speak with him peacefully. – Genesis 37:1-4