Dick Gregory and Rabbis Under Rome

“Joseph found out it’s dangerous to be a dreamer….Or sell the dreamer into slavery; purchase the dream with foundation grants or government deals…” Dick Gregory, in 1974, sounded a whole lot like Rabbis under Roman rule.

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Investigation and Surmise

In next week’s Torah portion, Jacob is brought the many-colored coat he’d given his favorite son, Joseph. The coat has been dipped in goat’s blood to trick Jacob into believing Joseph was torn by a wild animal, rather than that his own brothers sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:23-36). “We found this; identify, if you […]

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Vayechi: A Path to Follow

In one of her studies of Vayechi, “Jacob’s Testament,” Nechama Leibowitz* discusses Joseph’s reluctance to swear to Jacob’s burial wish: The Midrash aptly explains the difference between Joseph’s behavior and that of Abraham’s servant [when asked to swear, regarding finding a wife for Isaac]: Said Rabbi Isaac: The servant acted servilely and the freeman as […]

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Vayechi: Language and Translation

Genesis/Breishit 50:24: Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will surely remember [pakod yifkod] you and bring you up out of this land to the land that He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” — Stone* translation Joseph then said to his kin, “I am dying, but God […]

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Mikeitz: Language and Translation

Two sons were born to Joseph before the years of famine arrived, born to him by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. Joseph named the first-born son Manasseh [mem-nun-shin-heh], “For God has made me forget [ki-nashani] all the troubles I endured in my father’s house.” And he named the second one Ephraim [aleph-peh-reish-yod-mem], “For […]

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Mikeitz: A Path to Follow

A man should await the fulfillment of a good dream for as much as twenty-two years. Whence do we know this? From Joseph. For it is written: These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph being seventeen years old, etc., [Daniel 2], and it is further written, And Joseph was thiry years old when he stood […]

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Mikeitz: Something to Notice

BERURIAH THE SCHOLAR EXPLAINS: The story of Joseph is the most elaborate in the Torah, spanning four parshiyot, more than the stories of any of the patriarchs and matriarchs. And yet women are virtually absent from the tale. This is a tale of brothers, of patriarchy, of male power relations…. MIRIAM THE PROPHET PROCLAIMS: Like […]

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Vayeishev: A Path to Follow

Chapter 38 of Genesis/Breishit — the story of Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar — is sometimes ignored in the story of Joseph or considered an interruption that, at best, heightens the tension of the “main” story line. But there are important parallels thematically: The other function of this story seems to be to carry out […]

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