“And he settled” – והוא התיישב
Candle lighting: 4:16pm on Friday, 22 November 2013
This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Vayeshev
Havdalah (72 min): 5:45pm on Saturday, 23 November 2013
B’RESHEET: (Genesis) 37:1- 40:23
HAFTARAH Vayeshev: (Amos) 2:6-3:8
B’RIT HADASHAH: Suggested reading Parashah 9 Vayeshav: (Matthew) 1:1-6;16-25
Summary: The parasha begins the concluding drama of the book of Genesis, the story of Joseph and his 11 brothers, their estrangement and eventual reunion. Jacob is now settled in Canaan with all his family around him. Joseph is the favoured son, and to show his favour Jacob presents him with the multi-colored coat. Because of his haughty attitude, and their own jealousy, Joseph’s brothers conspire to kill him. But big brother Reuben intervenes, and they decide instead to sell him into slavery. They grab him, throw him into a pit, and then sell him to a passing caravan en route to Egypt. They then tell their father Jacob that his beloved Joseph was attacked by a wild beast, presenting the bloody coat to him as proof.
The Joseph narrative is then interrupted by the story of Jacob’s son Judah, who is experiencing some problems of his own. His son has died, leaving his wife Tamar a childless widow. Following the tradition of Leverite marriage, he gives his next son to her to father a child, but the next son perishes childless as well. Having already lost two sons, Judah refuses to give his youngest son to Tamar to provide her with a child. Tamar then decides to take decisive action. She dresses like a prostitute, entices Judah to sleep with her, and thereby becomes pregnant. Judah is outraged when he finds out what has happened, but, in the end, Tamar is vindicated, and gives birth to twins. Joseph ends up in Egypt, serving in the home of Potiphar, the King’s chief steward, and he quickly makes his way up the ranks of the servants to head up Potiphar’s household.
Potiphar’s wife notices Joseph, and tries to seduce hum. When he refuses her advances, she has him thrown into prison, where he puts his skills as a dream interpreter to good use. He ends up interpreting the dreams of Pharoah’s servants, which eventually brings him to the attention of Pharoah himself.