VaYeshev "And he settled"

Genesis:   37:1-40:23

Amos 2:6-3:8

Acts 7:9-16


Short review of this Parashat" VaYeshev"

I.     A Father's Mistake (37:3)

II.  A Brother's Mistreatment (37:4, 6, 11, 18, 26, 27)

III. A Nobleman's Man Servant-Potipher (37:36)

IV. God's Master Plan

     a.    Joseph Sold Into Slavery (37:28-29)

     b.   Judah and Tamar (38:1-30)

     c.    Joseph Thrown Into Jail (39:20)

     d.   Cupbearer and Baker (40:1-23)



Bereshit Rabbah 84.7, is the midrash in the Talmud which refers to this Torah portion. In this section of D'var Torah, a famous Jewish sage, Resh Lakeesh, said in the name of an earlier sage Rav Eliezer Ben Azariah, "A man must not make a distinction among his children, for on account of the coat of many colors which our ancestor Yaakov made for Yosef; they hated him."


This Parashat is part one of the story of Yosef. We see the beginning of GOD's promise to Abraham being fulfilled as his descendants sojourn in a land, not their own, for over 400 years. Within this section we find a story of irony, suspense, sadness, and joy. Most of this entire well known portion is, perhaps, the greatest tale of the sovereignty of GOD. The hand of GOD guides circumstances in the life of Yosef and his brethren. Yosef himself said, at the end of his father Yaakov's life, "You my brothers meant what you did to me for evil, but GOD meant it for good."


Yosef was seventeen years old and, despite his youth, he was entrusted with the burden of being his father's favorite and heir-apparent of the family tribe. This was confirmed with the giving of the coat of many colors, which in those days signified ruler-ship for Semitic chiefs. To make matters worse for Yosef, he was extremely gifted by GOD. He was given the ability to both hear the voice of HaShem in dreams and to interpret them. He had no hesitation to announce to his father and envious brothers that one day he would rule over them. The circumstances of being the favorite son and future ruler over the other brothers brought envy and hatred from his brethren. Thus, he was later thrown in a pit and sold into slavery to serve in Potiphar's house as head of all the servants. It was here that he showed his moral up-rightness by refusing the advances of Potiphar's wife, resulting in his being thrown into jail. This was GOD's plan so that Yosef could eventually be brought forth to be second only to Pharaoh, in all of Egypt. Yosef stood ground on his faith, choosing to show GODly character. He refused to be like his brothers who had no character and brought their father dishonor.


It is within the context of this D'var Torah that we can also relate the story of Hanukkah, which we are commemorating now. Mattathias and his sons, Judah and the other Maccabees, stood their ground to honor GOD and their heritage as a people belonging to Him. They chose to be separate from the world and worldly ways. They saved the Jewish nation from annihilation by assimilation, which eventually allowed Yeshua to born into a Jewish household bringing the promise of GOD regarding the Maschiach into fruition.


Shavua Tov

Rabbi Z.

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