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Vayeishev 5779
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Why is “אלה תולדות יעקב” the introductory phrase to the story of Yosef’s sale? The Rashbam on the meaning of “אלה תולדות יעקב”, who actually sold Yosef (and the importance of pshat – if the Torah formulates something in a specific way it’s to teach us something). What does it mean that Yaakov wanted to […]
Refusing Comfort, Keeping Hope
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life The deception has taken place. Joseph has been sold into slavery. His brothers dipped his coat in blood. They bring it back to their father, saying: “Look what we have found. Do you recognise it? Is this your son’s robe or not?” Jacob recognises it and replies, […]
Unequal
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Being married to four women simultaneously can make life complicated. Having children with each of those wives can add to the complications. Having a favorite wife and a chosen child can make life perilous – particularly for that child. This, in a nutshell, was the situation in Yaakov’s home. The favorite child was Yosef, son […]
Snapshots from Lech Lecha and Vayera
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The command of Lech Lecha is written in reverse geographical order (land, birthplace, home). Avraham defines himself as a גר ותושב – a resident and an alien. This is alluded to the command of Lech Lecha. Why was Terach travelling towards Canaan and is Avraham continuing/completing his father’s journey? Avraham’s challenge to the famine in […]
Who Sold Yosef into Slavery?
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It doesn’t say Yosef was lost and a man found him, it says the reverse! Throughout the whole story of Yosef and his brothers, there are two simultaneous stories taking place – the Divine Plan that must be carried out but that doesn’t remove the free-will of the human actors. When the Torah describes the […]
Vayeshev: Thinking and Dreaming
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When I recall the great teachers I was blessed with over the course of my lifetime, I realize that one thing comes to mind: they were a diverse group. This eclectic group included the gentle man who introduced me to the study of Chumash, Bible, when I was in fourth grade; the seventh-grade teacher who […]
The Sale of Yosef and Pidyon Haben
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וַיִּמְשְׁכוּ וַיַּעֲלוּ אֶת יוֹסֵף מִן הַבּוֹר וַיִּמְכְּרוּ אֶת יוֹסֵף לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִים בְּעֶשְׂרִים כָּסֶף They drew Yosef up and lifted him out of the pit and sold Yosef to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver (37:28) A Surprising Association The sale of Yosef was an act which has had repercussions throughout our history. According to Chazal, […]
The Historic Debates between Ibn Ezra and the Abarbanel
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Just as Yaakov defeats the שרו של עשו in Parshat Vayishlach, so to will Yaakov’s descendants defeat עשו at the end of days, as is foretold in the Haftarah. Who was Ovadiah and when did he live? Is Ovadiah’s prophecy about the destruction of Edom before bayit rishon (Abarbanel) or churban bayit sheni (Ibn Ezra)? […]