English  |  My Account  |  Cart0 Items

Parshat Vayeishev

Hello Dear Friends
This week we are learning Parshat Vayeishev

Parshat Vayeishev
Genesis 37:1-40:23

Joseph dreamed a dream, and told it to his brothers... "Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and bowed down to my sheaf." (37:5-7).

We live in a disjointed and fragmented world. Its countless components each seem to be going its own way, each creation seeking only its own preservation and advancement. Our own lives include countless events and experiences, espousing different priorities, pulling us in different directions.

But this is but the most superficial face of reality. The deeper we probe nature and its laws, the more we uncover an underlying unity. The more we assimilate the lessons of life, the more we discern a "guiding hand" and a coherent destiny. The more we utilize our talents and resources, all the more do the various aspects of our uniquely individual role fall in place.

This is the deeper significance of Joseph's dream. We are all bundlers in the field of life. Here, each stalk grows in its own distinct little furrow; our challenge is to bring focus to this diversity, to gather these stalks together and bind them as a single sheave.
But this alone is not enough. As Joseph saw in his dream, his brothers individual bundles stood in a circle and bowed to his. This means that while every individual should view the various components of his life as a distinct "bundle," the piecing together of his life is not an end in itself, but the means to a higher goal. In the words of our sages, "The entire world was created only for my sake; and I was created only to serve my Creator." So while every person should view his entire world--the resources and opportunities which Divine Providence has sent his way--as being there for him, this "bundle" must in turn be dedicated to the fulfillment of his Divinely ordained mission in life.
The way this is achieved is by subjugating ones own bundle to "Josephs bundle." The Torah is G-ds communication of His will to man, and charts the course for man to serve his Creator. And each generation has its "Joseph," an utterly righteous individual whose life is the perfect embodiment of Torahs ethos and ideals. This is the tzaddik whom the "bundles" of the various tribes of Israel surround and subjugate themselves to, turning to him for guidance as how best to realize the purpose of their lives.
(The Lubavitcher Rebbe
(Midrash Tanchuma)

Joseph, whose brothers are jealous of the preferential treatment he receives from his father, such as a precious many-colored coat that Jacob makes for Joseph. Joseph relates to his brothers two dreams of his which foretell that he is destined to rule over them, increasing their envy and hatred towards him.
Simeon and Levi plot to kill him, but Reuben suggests that they throw him into a pit instead, intending to come back later and save him. While Joseph is in the pit, Judah has him sold to a band of passing Ishmaelites. The brothers dip Josephs special coat in the blood of a goat and show it to their father, leading him to believe that his most beloved son was devoured by a wild beast.

Joseph is taken to Egypt and sold to Potiphar, the minister in charge of Pharaohs slaughterhouses. G‑d blesses everything he does, and soon he is made overseer of all his masters property. Potiphars wife desires the handsome and charismatic lad; when Joseph rejects her advances, she tells her husband that the Hebrew slave tried to force himself on her, and has him thrown in prison. Joseph gains the trust and admiration of his jailers, who appoint him to a position of authority in the prison administration.
In prison, Joseph meets Pharaohs chief butler and chief baker, both incarcerated for offending their royal master. Both have disturbing dreams, which Joseph interprets; in three days, he tells them, the butler will be released and the baker hanged. Joseph asks the butler to intercede on his behalf with Pharaoh. Josephs predictions are fulfilled, but the butler forgets all about Joseph and does nothing for him.

Back to Top