Torah Commentary

A Solitary Mission

November 27, 2021Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar
The story of Joseph is the story of a solitary man, driven, visioning, dreaming, ambitious, misunderstood, and the object of much disdain. It is the story of heroic and tenacious leadership. Many a contemporary leader can relate. Leadership by its very nature is a tug of war between one's desire to actualize a sense of destiny and striving to meet the immediate needs of others. Leaders feel that they are uniquely called upon to achieve something important. To be driven by dream and possibility is lonely work.

Who Is the Supporting Cast in the Story of Your Life?

December 21, 2019Rabbi Dan Moskovitz

I am a rabbi because of a game of catch I played at camp with a rabbi more than three times my age. ... Others people who have changed my direction are like supporting actors in my life. ... In Parashat Vayeishev, Joseph goes out searching for his brothers who are supposed to be in the field tending the flock. ... Along the way he meets a man whose name we never know: The Torah refers to him simply as ha-ish, ”the man” who saw Joseph wandering in the field (Gen. 37:15). 

Jacob Awakens to the Sexual Assaults Suffered by His Children

December 1, 2018Rabbi Paul Kipnes

In Parashat Vayeishev, we read that Joseph suffers sexual harassment at the hands of Potiphar’s wife. Joseph is the patriarch Jacob’s second child to face sexual violence, after his daughter Dinah was raped (Gen. 34). In this midrashic monologue, we wonder how Jacob reacted to the news of what happened to Dinah:   

Ensuring the Success or Failure of Dreams

December 9, 2017Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce, Ph.D.

Reading Parashat Vayeishev and other dream-filled portions in Genesis, we wonder if it’s possible to influence a dream’s prophecy rather than passively waiting for the outcome to unfold. The upcoming holiday, Hanukkah, provides a clue.