In an interesting piece reflecting upon President’s Ford’s status as an adopted child (and Bill Clinton’s as well) commentator Jay Homnick shows his knowledge of rabbinica.
In President Ford’s case there is an added poignancy in the notion that he was essentially an adopted President. The citizenry had not voted for him as either President or Vice-President, so they were called upon to adopt him in office, as it were. Fate determined that an unelected President was the appropriate replacement for one who was discredited by election chicanery.
There is a Jewish tradition I suspect is unknown to those who encounter the Bible only in translation, although the clues are there. Jacob had a son named Asher, of whom the verse (Genesis 46:17) says: “The children of Asher were Yemina and Yishva and Yishvi and Briah, and their sister Serah” By calling Serah “their sister”, it hints she was adopted. Later, in Numbers (46:26), it says: “The name of Asher’s daughter was Serah.” The Aramaic translation (Targum) reads: “And the name of Asher’s wife’s daughter was Serah.” This is used as a legal source for the concept of paternal adoption.
He continues with further reflections upon midrashic and talmudic traditions and culminates with a nice, almost midrashic connection between Moses and Ford. Worth reading.
2 thoughts on “The Adopted President and Targum”
Ford was not only adopted by the country as our President, he was also adopted by Gerald Ford, Sr and given his name. Makes the comparisons all the more appropriate.
Indeed Ranter (and it is good to “see” you again!), that is the thrust of the story. He points out that Clinton was also adopted and that in both cases it is the adopting father’s name that will now live in our history, an apt credit to the choice of love that they made.