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Vayeishev

Vayeishev

[Jacob] Settled
Genesis
37:1−40:23

Jacob now settled in the land of his father's sojourning, in the land of Canaan. - Genesis 37:1

Summary: 
  • Jacob is shown to favor his son Joseph, whom the other brothers resent. Joseph has dreams of grandeur. (Genesis 37:1-11)
  • After Joseph's brothers had gone to tend the flocks in Shechem, Jacob sends Joseph to report on them. The brothers decide against murdering Joseph but instead sell him into slavery. After he is shown Joseph's coat of many colors, which had been dipped in the blood of a kid, Jacob is led to believe that Joseph has been killed by a beast. (Genesis 37:12-35)
  • Tamar successively marries two of Judah's sons, each of whom dies. Judah does not permit her levirate marriage to his youngest son. She deceives Judah into impregnating her. (Genesis 38:1-30)
  • God is with Joseph in Egypt until the wife of his master, Potiphar, accuses him of rape, whereupon Joseph is imprisoned. (Genesis 39:1-40:23)

When do we read Vayeishev?

2017 Dec 9
/21 Kislev, 5778
2018 Dec 1
/23 Kislev, 5779

RECENT COMMENTARY

  • By Ellen M. Umansky

    Parashat Vayeishev introduces the Joseph saga. When it begins, Jacob’s 11th son, Joseph, is a 17-year-old shepherd working in the fields alongside his older brothers. The text’s description of him as a “youth,” na-ar, is apt, both biologically and emotionally. As Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg writes: “Joseph behaves with the narcissism of youth, with a dangerous unawareness of the inner worlds of others” (Zornberg, Genesis: The Beginning of Desire [Philadelphia: JPS,1995], p. 253). He consciously tells Jacob malicious tales about the brothers and by wearing the beautiful, multicolored coat (or ornamental tunic) that Jacob has given him, flaunts the fact that he is the favorite son. It is thus not surprising that when Joseph’s brothers see that their father loves him more than they, they come to hate Joseph (Genesis 37:4).

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