Contents Calendar Find Reference
Divrei Torah 
Navigating the Bible
Genesis VaYeshev
Genesis
  Bereshit
  Noach
  Lech Lecha
  VaYera
  Chayey Sarah
  Toledot
  VaYetse
  VaYishlach
  VaYeshev
  MiKets
  VaYigash
  VaYechi
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy
Yaakov Avinu settles in the land of Canaan. His favorite son, Yosef, brings him critical reports about his brothers. Yaakov makes for Yosef a fine tunic of multi-colored woolen strips. Yosef exacerbates his brothers' hatred by recounting prophetic dreams - of sheaves of wheat bowing to his sheaf, and of the sun and the moon and the stars bowing down to him - signifying that all his family will appoint him king. The brothers indict Yosef and resolve to execute him. When Yosef comes to Shechem, the brothers relent and decide, at Reuven's instigation, to throw him into a pit instead. Yehuda persuades the brothers to take Yosef out of the pit and sell him to a caravan of passing Yishmaelim. When Reuven returns to find the pit empty, he rends his clothes in anguish. The brothers soak Yosef's tunic in goat's blood and show it to their father Yaakov, who assumes that Yosef has been devoured by wild animals - Yaakov is inconsolable.

Meanwhile, in Egypt, Yosef has been sold to Potiphar, Pharaoh's Chamberlain of the Butchers. In the Parsha's sub-plot, Yehuda's son Er dies as punishment for preventing his wife Tamar from becoming pregnant because he feared that she would lose her beauty after childbirth. Onan, Yehuda's second son, then weds Tamar by levirate marriage. He too is punished in similar circumstances to his brother. When Yehuda's wife dies, Tamar resolves to have children through Yehuda as this union will found the Davidic line, culminating in the Mashiach. Meanwhile, Yosef rises to power in the house of his Egyptian master. His extreme beauty attracts the unwanted advances of his master's wife. Enraged by his rejection of her, she slanders Yosef, falsely accusing him of attempting to seduce her, and he is imprisoned. While in jail, Yosef successfully predicts the outcome of the dream of Pharaoh's wine steward, who is re-instated; and that of Pharaoh's baker, who is hanged. In spite of his promise, the wine steward forgets to help Yosef after he is released, and Yosef languishes in jail.




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