Joseph the Righteous One

Joseph the Righteous One

Dec 1, 2007 By David Hoffman | Commentary | Vayeshev

I have always been deeply curious as to why—of all the characters in the Torah—the Rabbis attributed to Joseph the appellation, “ha-Tzadik” (the righteous).

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Going Up in Holiness

Going Up in Holiness

Nov 27, 2010 By David Levy | Commentary | Vayeshev | Hanukkah

Next Wednesday night, Hanukkah begins and Jews all over the world will gather around the menorah to light one candle for the first night of Hanukkah. We take it for granted that we light a candle on the first night, two on the second, and so on, but it could have been different.

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The Land of Sojourning

The Land of Sojourning

Nov 19, 2013 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Vayeshev

After the relative insecurity and turbulence of Jacob’s life (masquerading as his brother Esau, taking flight to Laban’s home, becoming the victim of deception vis-à-vis a wife and his wages, and the wrestling match of last week), Parashat Vayeshev opens with the hope of the patriarch transitioning into a calmer stage of life.

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Transformative Women

Transformative Women

Jan 16, 2012 By Daniel Nevins | Commentary | Vayeshev

Male characters and voices dominate biblical literature, yet the near-absence of female characters is particularly striking in Parashat Va-yeishev. Here is the story of Jacob (his wives don’t appear) and his 12 sons (his daughter doesn’t appear) exploring the world of men—in the field, on the road, in the city, and in prison. These narratives are rough and even violent, and this tone carries over to the two stories in which women do appear: Judah’s coarse treatment of Tamar and Joseph’s encounter with Potiphar’s unnamed wife, who physically accosts him.

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Forgetting to Remember for Posterity

Forgetting to Remember for Posterity

Dec 5, 2012 By Abigail Treu | Commentary | Vayeshev

Remember the Sabbath day. Remember what Amalek did to you in the wilderness. Remember what God did to Miriam. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. Memory is integral to our identities as Jews and as individuals. What happens when we lose our memories, or our ability to remember altogether?

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Power of Redemption

Power of Redemption

Nov 20, 2013 By Mitchell Cohen | Commentary | Vayeshev

The theme of oppression and redemption is repeated throughout Parashat Vayeshev, as we read of many instances in which pain and suffering lead to freedom and joy.

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Varieties of Devotion

Varieties of Devotion

Dec 4, 2004 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Vayeshev

This past week, my two-and-a-half year old granddaughter spotted me one morning davening by the window in our living room. She recognized the telltale signs of the act, my tallit and tefillin. Spontaneously, she announced her intention to daven also, took herself over to the drawer where we keep some old JTS benchers (small grace books), removed one, and proceeded to strut about with the bencher in her face. Later, I found the bencher on the floor in another room, but for a few tender moments at least, I had a precious soul mate in greeting God that morning.

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Settled and Unsettled

Settled and Unsettled

Dec 4, 1993 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Vayeshev

The opening verse of our parasha conveys a degree of finality. “Now Jacob was settled in the land where his father had sojourned, the land of Canaan (Genesis 37:1).” His exile is over. The text depicts a man drained by unrelenting stress who has come home to die. The abuse heaped upon him by Laban, the prospect of facing Esau, the rampage of his sons against the inhabitants of Shehem, and the loss of his beloved Rachel in childbirth has left him groping for the solace and security of home. 

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