[P> X:Y (Z)] and [S> X:Y (Z)] indicate start of a parsha p’tucha or s’tuma respectively. X:Y is Perek:Pasuk of the beginning of the parsha; (Z) is the number of p'sukim in the parsha.
Kohen - First Aliya - 11 p'sukim - 37:1-11
17 year old Yosef brings bad reports about his brothers to Yaakov. Yaakov loves Yosef above his brothers and gives him a special (striped) coat. As a result, the brothers hate Yosef and cannot talk civilly to him. Yosef's two dreams (and especially, his telling his brothers about them) increases their hatred and jealousy, and this alarms Yaakov.
SDT: These are the TO'L'DOT of Yaakov: Yosef... Should not the Torah have started with Reuven? This comes to show us, says the Gemara, that Yosef should have been Yaakov's firstborn, but G-d's mercy for Leah put her before Rachel in giving birth.
SDT: Talmud Yerushalmi wonders what Yosef reported about the brothers to Yaakov. R. Meir says, that they ate "limb from a living animal"; R. Yehuda says that they belittled the sons of Bilha and Zilpa and mistreated them; R. Shimon says that they cast their gaze upon the local women. R. Yehuda b. Pazi quotes the pasuk from Mishlei: "The scales and weighing stones of justice are HaShem's..." (the name-pasuk for Pinchas), meaning that a person is punished (or rewarded) measure for measure.
Sources explain that the brothers did not do these things; Yosef misinterpreted what he saw.) In Yosef's case, the slaughter of a goat was instrumental in his abduction and the deception of his father; he was belittled and enslaved; he was accused of immoral behavior with Potifar's wife.
Yosef's second dream, of the Sun, Moon, and stars bowing to him, added fuel to his brothers' hatred. Yaakov pointed out the absurdity of the dream, since Rachel, the Moon, had already died and would therefore not be bowing to Yosef.
Rashi says two different things: (1) The dream was referring to Bilha who raised Yosef in Rachel's absence; and (2) even "true" dreams have an element of nonsense. These seem to be mutually exclusive statements - if the Moon represents Bilha, then the dream contained no nonsense. Yaakov seems to have purposely voiced the second option in order to diffuse some of the brothers' anger.
SDT: Why did the scholars of Bavel dress up so grandly? The Gemara in Shabbat asks. And it answers that they were not "Bnei Torah". External polish to compensate for internal lack. Says the Chatam Sofer, Yaakov gave Yosef a fancy coat so that the brothers would NOT be jealous of him, that they would view Yaakov's pampering of Yosef as a sign of his inferiority. Others suggest that the brothers were supposed to realize that the special treatment of Yosef was because his mother had died, and they should be sympathetic, rather than jealous. (P.S. It didn't work.)
Levi - Second Aliya - 11 p'sukim - 37:12-22
(In the whole story of Yosef and his brothers, one can see that G-d has a plan which proceeds with the unknowing help of the brothers and other individuals. And yet, each person involved acts of his own free will, and is therefore accountable for his actions.)
When the brothers see Yosef coming, they (some say, Shimon and Levi) suggest killing him. Reuven talks them out of it by suggesting that they not spill his blood, but throw him into a pit instead. The Torah testifies that Reuven really intended to save Yosef.
A point must be made about the concluding pasuk of this Aliya, which gives credit to Reuven for saving Yosef. Commentaries say that Reuven could have talked the brother out of the whole thing; instead, he suggested the snake- and scorpion-infested pit. Nonetheless, Reuven is credited for his intention to save Yosef.
Rashi says that Reuven truly intended to come back and save Yosef - that's good - but his reason was that he, as oldest, would be blamed - that's not really a nice reason. Nonetheless, he gets the credit for the good deed he planned on doing - even though it wasn't accomplished AND even though his motives were not pure. This gives us something to think about. How much credit must there be for proper motives, and for actual success.
Shlishi - Third Aliya - 14 p'sukim - 37:23-36
Through a series of transactions, Yosef ends up in Egypt as a slave to Potifar. When Reuven returns to the scene and discovers Yosef missing, he rends his garment and expresses his distress to the others. The brothers slaughter a goat, smear Yosef's multi-colored, striped coat in its blood, and send it to Yaakov to identify.
SDT: Commentaries point out that just as Yaakov had deceived his father with a goat and a garment (goat & coat), so too was he deceived with a goat and a garment. The dish prepared by Rivka for Yaakov to serve his father was made from goat-meat. Rivka dressed Yaakov in goat- skins and in Eisav's special garment. The brothers took Yosef's special garment - the K'tonet Pasim - and smeared it with goat's blood. This is a stark example of "Mida k'neged mida" - measure for measure, mentioned earlier.
Yaakov is inconsolable. (This is considered an indication that Yaakov subconsciously knew that Yosef was alive; one naturally accepts consolation for the dead after a time, but not for the missing.)
Think of the terrible anguish of the families of Israel's missing and kidnapped soldiers. Because of Yosef's story, Vayeishev is designated each year as SHABBAT SH'VUYEI V'NE'EDA- REI TZAHA"L.
SDT: Rashi gives us another aspect of the "Measure for Measure" punishment of Yaakov. The pasuk says that he "mourned for his son MANY DAYS." Rashi says that it was 22 years! Yosef was 17 when he was sold. He was 30 when he stood before Par'o. That's 13. Seven years of plenty and the first two years of famine before father and son were reunited. That makes 22 years that Yaakov was without Yosef. This, says Rashi, is the exact length of time that Yaakov was away from Yitzchak. It includes the 20 years with Lavan, a year and a half in Sukkot, and six months in Bet El before Yaakov returned to his father's house. Remember that Yaakov had various good excuses, nonetheless...
The measure for measure idea continues to the next generation. Baal HaTurim points out that just as Yehuda asked his father HAKEIR NA, recognize this garment as Yosef's, so too was he asked HAKEIR NA by his daughter-in-law Tamar. He was deceived exactly the way he deceived Yaakov. And there was a goat and garment in the Yehuda-Tamar story too. See further.
R'vi'i - Fourth Aliya - 30 p'sukim - 38:1-30
SDT: Why is the story of Yosef interrupted to tell us about Yehuda's situation? Rashi tells us that Yehuda was no longer looked up to by his brothers. After they saw the terrible effect on Yaakov of the Yosef business, they blamed Yehuda for not talking them out of the whole idea. Hence the term "And Yehuda went down from his brothers..." has a double meaning.
There he meets and marries the daughter of Shu'a, who bears him three sons. He marries off his eldest, Er to Tamar. When Er dies, the next brother Onan, marries his brother's widow. The Torah tells us that Onan refused to have a child with Tamar, because that child would "belong" (so to speak) to Er. This G-d took seriously (so to speak) and Onan also dies, Tamar is left to wait for the third son, Shela.
Then Yehuda's wife dies. Yehuda travels to the area where Tamar lives. When she hears of his arrival and realizes that she has not been given to Shela yet, she disguises herself. Yehuda, thinking she is a prostitute, sleeps with her. She asks and receives three items as security that he will send her payment (a goat). When it becomes known that Tamar is pregnant, Yehuda is summoned. Assuming that she has acted sinfully, he is prepared to have her punished. Tamar produces the three items and announces that she is pregnant by their owner.
SDT: The Gemara teaches that one must avoid embarrassing another at all costs - it is better to be thrown into a fiery furnace than embarrass someone. We learn this from Tamar, who did not denounce Yehuda, even though she would have been considered guilty of immorality had Yehuda not owned up to his actions.
[Commentaries explain that prior to Matan Torah, any close relative could take the childless wife of the deceased; after the Torah was given, only a brother qualifies for YIBUM.]
Yehuda recognizes that he is the guilty one, not Tamar, and he admits it. She gives birth to twins (one extending his hand first, the other actually being born first). They are named Peretz (ancestor of King David) and Zerach.
Note the repeat of the confused firstborn theme. It pervades the Book of B'reishit.
OBSERVATION... Yaakov deceives his father with a garment (Eisav's) and fans the jealousy of his son's against Yosef with the "coat of many colors". He is deceived (and devastated) by that same coat when the brothers bring it back to him all bloodied. Yehuda is "troubled" by his garment which he gave to Tamar as one of the three securities for his promise to pay her with goats. (P'tilim, says Rashi, refers to Yehuda's cloak.) Yosef, the victim (but not free of guilt in the matter) has his coat grabbed by Potifar's wife. Yosef leaves it in her hands as he runs from the house; the coat becomes the damning piece of evidence against him. Interesting, no?
Chamishi - Fifth Aliya - 6 p'sukim - 39:1-6
SDT: The Midrash says that Yosef was aware of his looks and became too comfortable in Potifar's house. Things were going well, he had good food and drink, and he began "curling his hair". G-d (so to speak) said to Yosef: Your father is in agony over your disappearance and sup- posed demise and you are enjoying your- self? I shall make things rough for you too.
SDT: The portion of Yosef in Potifar's house is juxtaposed to the episode of Yehuda and Tamar, and is further linked because the parsha of Yosef is S'tuma, meaning it continues on the same line (in a Sefer Torah) as the previous parsha (Yehuda & Tamar) ends. The standard explanation is that the sale of Yosef caused Yehuda to lose the respect of his brothers. Rashi gives another, intriguing, explanation. He says that it is to equate Tamar and Potifar's wife - both of whom acted "for the sake of Heaven". Potifar's wife, says Rashi, saw via astrology that she was destined to have descendants that came from Yosef. She thought that she was the one to produce them and so she tried to seduce him. She was just a bit off; it was, in fact, her daughter As'nat that would bear Yosef's children.
Shishi - Sixth Aliya - 17 p'sukim - 39:7-23
She grabs him on a day when no one else is in the house. Yosef flees, leaving his coat behind. (This is the second time his coat has been left in the hands of others!) Potifar's wife denounces Yosef to all who will listen, and Potifar has no choice but to have Yosef imprisoned. He probably believed that Yosef was innocent, so at least he didn't have him killed.
G-d "favors" Yosef in prison, and Yosef becomes well-liked and respected there too. Even in his troubled circumstances, Yosef is watched over favor- ably by G-d.
SDT: Commentaries see the episode of Potifar's wife as an appropriate punishment for Yosef: (a) having been vain about his good looks, (b) having reported to his father that his brothers had been "lifting their eyes" to the local girls, and (c) experiencing libelous accusations against himself, as he had reported the "evil- doings" of the brothers to their father. Baal HaTurim adds that Yosef spent 10 years in prison corresponding to the 10 brothers he reported on.
Sh'vi'i - Seventh Aliya - 23 p'sukim - 40:1-23
Rashi tells us that Yosef was to spend another two years in prison for relying on the Wine Steward to get him out of prison. This raises the question in our minds of the line between BITACHON, trust in G-d, and HISHTADLUS, effort a person expends to get himself out of a tough situation. Could it not have been viewed that G-d set up the whole dream situation with the Wine Steward and the Baker, so that Yosef would do exactly what he did, and the Wine Steward would then be in a position and willing state of mind to help Yosef and put in the good word to Par'o? Why is Yosef faulted for taking the opportunity to try to get out of prison via the Wine Steward, when one can claim that G-d had sent the Wine Steward to Yosef (so to speak) for exactly that purpose.
It is possible that the spiritual level of Yosef required different behavior than would be reasonable and proper for "the rest of us". It is possible that under the circumstances, namely that Yosef had just credited G-d repeatedly for his ability to interpret dreams, that the Wine Steward received the "wrong message" from Yosef when Yosef asks him to remember Yosef favorably. Maybe like: "Hey, your G-d can interpret dreams but can't even get you out of this dump without you asking me for a favor". Maybe there is a Chilul HaShem factor to consider here. The specific situation can sometimes dictate or indicate that a specific behavior is called for, even though in other circumstances, the opposite behavior would be appropriate.
Maftir from second Torah - 17 p’sukim - Bamidbar 7:1-17
Some shuls begin the reading of the first day six p’sukim earlier, to include the portion of Birkat Kohanim in the Chanuka reading. The reason (or one of the reasons) is to identify and acknowledge the Chashmona’im as Kohanim.
Haftara - 21 p'sukim - Zacharya 2:14-4:7
The opening words of the Haftara are G-d's promise to dwell among us. This is the purpose of having built the Mishkan and the Beit HaMikdash in the first place, and this is the purpose of rededicating it, as we did on Chanuka.
The Haftara contains the vision of olive oil miraculously flowing into the gold menora flanked by olive trees. This vision is the basis of the emblem of the State of Israel. This is particularly significant in light of the interpretation of the vision. The message to the king, to Jewish leaders in general, is that our success is not measured by might and power, but rather by the spirit of G-d. This was an important message for the Chashmona'im and it remains a vital message for the leaders of the modern State of Israel.