Shabbat Shalom! – Vayeshev

Parashat Vayeshev begins the Joseph story in Genesis, one of the world’s great short novels. 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. If you feel like you’ve heard it too many times, here’s a tip: notice which character is most attractive to you. Then make an effort to identify with a different character for a while. That initial insight, and the decision to vary it, will vastly enrich your reading.

Some divrei Torah from around the Internet:

The Transformation from Brat to Tzadik Begins Here – Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild

Torah Ecology: Vayeshev by Leslie Cook

Getting Even… Numbers Don’t Lie by Barbara Kipnis Cohen

Here Comes that Loser Dreamin’ Joe #letsthrowhiminapit by Rabbi Seth Goldstein

Tamar, taking her destiny in her own hands by Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild

What Changed Joseph? by Rabbi Ruth Adar (both text and video)

It Doesn’t Have to Be Like This by Hannah Perlberger




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Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, granny, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at and teaches at Jewish Gateways in Albany, CA.

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