Pop Parsha: Bond, Joseph Bond

skyfall-uk-posterAs a child I was encouraged by my father to watch several of the films he grew up loving, mainly the James Bond films and the classic Pink Panther films with Peter Sellers. I enjoyed both collections, except when James Bond basically was the Pink Panther. This weekend I saw the newest Bond film, Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig as James Bond. I much prefer Sean Connery and Pierce Bronson as 007, but Craig’s Bond legacy has been pretty solid. And Skyfall, I would say, was his best film.
In the film, the character M, played by Judy Dench, more than ever embodies a mother figure for several of the secret agents. More than one character returns to their mother and with different motives. There is an obvious connection here to this week’s parsha, Miketz, in the reunion of Joseph and his family. It got me thinking about how we embrace our family after not seeing them for a certain amount of time. And the dilemma of our loved ones hurting us is never easy. While not all of us are double agents (no comment), it is highly doubtful that any of our reunions turn into the chaos that is a James Bond film. But on the flip side, if we were sold and imprisoned by our brothers it’s easy to believe that we might not have been as forgiving as Joseph. Joseph was clearly upset about the reappearance of his siblings, which is why he cries (according to Rashi), tricks, and questions his brothers. But Joseph gives them this run-around in order to buy some time for his true emotions to set in, and decide what to do next.
This time of year family reunions are at the forefront of our lives whether it be Hanukkah, other holidays, or college students returning from school. We learn from Joseph, and maybe Skyfall, that our family will sometimes let us down. Family will make decisions that we might not understand. And forgiveness does not stem from the presents we receive, but rather from the acknowledgment that family — like our lives, jobs, or friends — are not perfect; that all of our lives run in very different directions, and that people cope in different ways. But nothing feels better than a hug from a loved one. And whatever our problems, it’s our job to understand that, despite what Bond might tell you, you only live once.
And let us say… Amen.