This week, our Parshat HaShevua Vayeishev is being sponsored by Edo and Atara Lavi and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated for a complete Refuah Shleima for Yishaya Shalom ben Malka (Blass). To the Lavi family, many thanks for your sponsorship and your continued kindnesses.
You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.
Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.
Our parsha relates how Yosef, born to Rachel, was Yaakov’s favored son — his “Ben Z’kunim” (son of old age) to whom he bestowed a multi-colored coat which sources indicate could have been the coat of Eisev which was worn by Yaakov in receiving the B’rachot from Yitzchak. Yosef’s favored son status aroused jealousy amongst his brothers.
Yosef’s tale-bearing about his brothers, as well as his dream-telling aroused anger and hatred of him in the brothers.
Torah expresses this jealousy, anger and hatred of the brothers for Yosef early in our Parsha:
“His brothers saw that it was he whom their father loved most of all his brothers so they hated him [Yosef]; and they were not able to speak to him peaceably.” (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 37, posuk 4)
They saw Yosef’s tale-telling — often without knowing all of the facts and his pronouncement of his dreams, as fostering their perception that he sought to rule over them, that he sought their subservience to him. His brothers also envied their Father’s preference for him. They viewed Yosef in the light of the family history — their great grandfather’s Avraham’s reluctance to separate from his other son Yishmael and their grandfather Yitzchak’s apparent favoritism for his son Eisev, that “master of kibud Av,” who nonetheless was wicked and not connected with Shemayim.
“The Midrash Says”, by Rabbi Moshe Weissman on Sefer Breish’t explains (page 350):
It seemed to them (the brothers) that Yosef by his conduct was attempting to win the position of Yaakov’s only successor. Hence they considered all thoughts and plans against him a mitzvah. They were unaware that they were actually distorting the truth as a result of their envy.
“Torah Gems”, by Aharon Yaakov Greenberg cites Tiferet Yehonatan (page 274-275) on Sefer Breish’t, Perek 37, posuk 4, above:
They hated him [Yosef]; and they were not able to speak to him peaceably.” …Had they sat down together, they would have spoken to one another and told… what bothered them. Then they would have ironed out their differences. The trouble… is that there is no common language and no one listening.
Yosef’s brothers, while acting inappropriately out of anger, jealousy and hatred, perceived Yosef as a threat to the future nation that was to grow from them as the offspring of Yaakov.
Torah then relates:
“When Yosef came searching out his brothers in the fields, the brothers saw him “from afar… and they conspired toward him to kill him.” (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 37, posuk 18)
In short, Yosef and the brothers stood on two polarizing sides, totally lacking in any sort of dialogue with each other.
How very much this description: “no common language and no one listening” between Yosef and his brothers resembles the evolution of the hate and polarization which marks the post-election 2016 atmosphere existing amongst the populous sectors as well as the political elites and print and electronic media in United States, as well as the polarization amongst various sectors, political elites, media and intelligencia here in Israel. We see all of the agendization being played out daily in the US and in Israel where the lack of “common language” and dialogue between Yosef and his brothers should provide lessons for us all here in Israel regarding civility and putting the welfare of Am Yisrael first and nullifying egos and narrow agenda.
May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of two and a half years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of any piece of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.