Joseph’s Tomb

Joseph's bones

I was distressed to hear that Joseph’s Tomb, where his bones are supposed to be buried, after the Israelites carried them as he requested, into the new land they were to inhabit, had been bombed and set on fire. How is it that art work and artifacts and sacred sites are now the target of animosity and warring? Is nothing sacred. Or were they ever? How is it religious wars still rage after thousands of years. Does anyone pause long enough to see that what they are tearing each other apart for is what holds them together, or should be uniting them, rather than setting them against one another.

Joseph’s tomb has been the site of conflict over the centuries. The issue being – to whom do Joseph’s bones belong? What faith claims him? Can any one faith lay claim to Joseph and his bones. Moses carried them beyond Egypt. Beyond Egypt what they had encountered in the wilderness was to go out to all the world.

Joseph’s tomb has been the a venerated site for centuries by Jews, Christians, Samaritans and Muslims. All claim rights to the tomb and at one time or another have paid homage to the last patriarch.

‘The walls of the interior covered with the names of pilgrims, representing almost every land and language; though the Hebrew character was the most prominent one.’ (Wikipedia) From my interest in Joseph’s story, I find it interesting that so many people, different people, different faith, identify in one way or another with Joseph. And rightfully so. For his journey is the journey we all make. His story is the story of the journey the soul makes to become authentic and whole. Joseph is now  a symbol for everyone. I am Joseph. You are Joseph. We are all Joseph. His story is our story.

And whatever happens to the site (or sites) where his bones are said to be buried, one thing will endure untrammeled:his story.

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