Parashat Vayeshev begins the Joseph story in Genesis, one of the world’s great short novels. In the great scope of Torah, it tells us how the descendants of Abraham and Sarah came to be in Egypt. In its own right, it is a complete story. This parashah is only the beginning of the story. It also includes one of the more mysterious elements of the story – another, shorter story, the only one that interrupts the Joseph narrative. That’s the story of Tamar, a woman who stands up for herself. You can read her story in Rabbi Rothschild’s sermon, below.
Welcome to the Joseph story. Some advice: notice which character you identify with. Then make an effort, decide, to identify with a different character for a while. That initial insight, and the decision to vary it, will vastly enrich your reading.
Tamar, taking her destiny in her own hands by Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild
So Many Questions! by Rabbi Amy Scheinerman
When Our Faces Betray Us by Rabbi Marc Katz
A Face of Many Colors by Rabbi Jordan Parr
What is the Theme of the Stories of Genesis? by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
What Changed Joseph? by Rabbi Ruth Adar
In Dreams Begin Responsibility by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat