TORAH READING FOR SHABBAT 23 KISLEV 5782 SHMITAH November 26-27, 2021
Light one candle for the strength we all need To never become our own foe!
And light one candle for those who are suff’ring Pain we learned so long ago!
Light one candle for all we believe in, Let anger not tear us apart!
And light one candle to bind us together With peace as the song in our heart!
Light One Candle by Peter Yarrow, 1982
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/vayeishev
Vayeishev (וַיֵּשֶׁב — Hebrew for “[Jacob] settled”) – Gen. 37:1-40:23
Jacob now settled in the land of his father’s sojourning, in the land of Canaan. – Genesis 37:1
- Jacob is shown to favor his son Joseph, whom the other brothers resent. Joseph has dreams of grandeur. (Genesis 37:1-11)
- After Joseph’s brothers had gone to tend the flocks in Shechem, Jacob sends Joseph to report on them. The brothers decide against murdering Joseph but instead sell him into slavery. After he is shown Joseph’s coat of many colors, which had been dipped in the blood of a kid, Jacob is led to believe that Joseph has been killed by a beast. (Genesis 37:12-35)
- Tamar successively marries two of Judah’s sons, each of whom dies. Judah does not permit her levirate marriage to his youngest son. She deceives Judah into impregnating her. (Genesis 38:1-30)
- God is with Joseph in Egypt until the wife of his master, Potiphar, accuses him of rape, whereupon Joseph is imprisoned. (Genesis 39:1-40:23)
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vayeshev
Vayeshev (וַיֵּשֶׁב – Hebrew for “and he lived”) – Genesis 37:1-40:23
The [complete] parashah tells the stories of how Jacob’s other sons sold Joseph into captivity in Egypt, how Judah wronged his daughter-in-law Tamar who then tricked him into fulfilling his oath, and how Joseph served Potiphar and was imprisoned when falsely accused of assaulting Potiphar’s wife. [The triennial part, Genesis 39:1-40:23, specifically covers the stories of Joseph in Potiphar’s service, Potiphar’s wife, Joseph’s imprisonment, and his interpreting the dreams of Pharaoh’s butler and cook.]
In Modern Interpretation
Ephraim Speiser argued that in spite of its surface unity, the Joseph story, on closer scrutiny, yields two parallel strands similar in general outline, yet markedly different in detail. The Jahwist’s version employed the Tetragrammaton and the name “Israel.” In that version, Judah persuaded his brothers not to kill Joseph but sell him instead to Ishmaelites, who disposed of him in Egypt to an unnamed official. Joseph’s new master promoted him to the position of chief retainer. When the brothers were on their way home from their first mission to Egypt with grain, they opened their bags at a night stop and were shocked to find the payment for their purchases. Judah prevailed on his father to let Benjamin accompany them on a second journey to Egypt. Judah finally convinced Joseph that the brothers had really reformed. Joseph invited Israel to settle with his family in Goshen. The Elohist’s parallel account, in contrast, consistently used the names “Elohim” and “Jacob.” Reuben — not Judah — saved Joseph from his brothers; Joseph was left in an empty cistern, where he was picked up, unbeknown to the brothers, by Midianites; they — not the Ishmaelites — sold Joseph as a slave to an Egyptian named Potiphar. In that lowly position, Joseph served — not supervised — the other prisoners. The brothers opened their sacks — not bags — at home in Canaan — not at an encampment along the way. Reuben — not Judah — gave Jacob — not Israel — his personal guarantee of Benjamin’s safe return. Pharaoh — not Joseph — invited Jacob and his family to settle in Egypt — not just Goshen. Speiser concluded that the Joseph story can thus be traced back to two once separate, though now intertwined, accounts.
From Women of Reform Judaism.org
Vayeishev, Genesis 37:1−40:23
By Rabbi Kim Geringer
THEME 2: CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN (AND THE WOMAN)
Garments play a significant role in this parashah. In the first episode, Joseph’s coat of many colors functions as an external marker, a symbol of his father’s favoritism, and a cause of his brothers’ enmity and rage (Genesis 37:3–4). After throwing Joseph in the pit, the brothers bloody Joseph’s coat and use it to deceive Jacob, who as a youth deceived his own father, Isaac, with a garment made of animal skins (Genesis 27:15–16). Tamar wears widow’s garb until her daring seduction of Judah, when she adorns herself as a prostitute (Genesis 38:14–16), after which she once again dresses as a widow. At Tamar’s demand, Judah parts with his major identity markers, including part of his dress, the cord from which hung his seal that was worn as part of its owner’s public attire (Genesis 38:18). Finally, Madam Potiphar grasps Joseph’s garment in her attempted seduction; when he flees, it is left in her hand as “evidence” of his “toying” with her (Genesis 39:12). As clothing serves as a source of both personal power and protection in this parashah, this raises a question of what other bodily adornments serve similar functions in our world today.
Opening paragraph of D’VAR TORAH BY: RABBI KARYN D. KEDAR
The story of Joseph is the story of a solitary man, driven, visioning, dreaming, ambitious, misunderstood, and the object of much disdain. It is the story of heroic and tenacious leadership. Many a contemporary leader can relate. Leadership by its very nature is a tug of war between one’s desire to actualize a sense of destiny and striving to meet the immediate needs of others. Leaders feel that they are uniquely called upon to achieve something important. To be driven by dream and possibility is lonely work.
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
וישב Vayeishev – Genesis 37:1-40:23
Trials, Tribulations, and Changing Circumstances by Athalya Brenner, pp.209-210 [abridged]
Parashat Vayeishev (“he settled”) begins the so-called “Joseph story cycle,” which goes on until the end of Genesis. In this first portion, the personal drama of Jacob and his family incorporates questions of national identity and survival outside the Promised Land….
Two stories of women and sex stand literally at the center of the parashah. One is the story of Tamar and her father-in-law Judah (Genesis 38), in which she eventually gives birth to two sons, one of whom will be a forefather of King David; in this episode Tamar takes extraordinary risks to secure the family’s future (if not her own) by getting pregnant by her father-in-law. In the second story, the wife of Potiphar–Joseph’s Egyptian master–attempts to seduce Joseph; he resists, she lies about the circumstances, and he is sent to prison (Genesis 39).
The two stories present the men’s behavior as contrasts: Judah eagerly has sex with the veiled Tamar, whereas Joseph resists Potiphar’s wife. (The contrast displays a bias for Joseph tribes as Genesis retrojects a much later, ongoing rivalry between the tribes of Joseph in the north and Judah in the south.) In both cases the text presumes that women can be sexually dangerous to men; but Tamar, unlike Potiphar’s wife, is pronounced righteous for ensuring–by using her body–that Judah’s family is not “written out of history.”
Structurally, the parashah is symmetrical: the first and last episodes portray Joseph in relations to dreams and dream solving. Joseph’s development, the structure suggests, revolves around his dreams, and it is generated by his actions…. God, though involved, remains in the background.
These themes surround two stories about a woman’s desire and its consequences. In both, the woman uses a garment to deceive. In both, she furthers the education and development of a man. Yet her actions, while advancing the plot–and the divine plan, so it seems–are not transformational; Judah and Joseph will each have to struggle further to transform self-centeredness into leadership. Tamar’s desire and action are rewarded: she becomes a mother of twins–and is invoked in the book of Ruth within a blessing (4:12). In contrast, the desire of Potiphar’s wife remains unfulfilled and she disappears unnamed… (she endures as a symbol of the dangerous foreign woman.)
From Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds especially directed at individuals and specific communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, 23 Kislev through 29 Kislev, we lovingly remember:
Father of Jane Kolber
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
Al sh’loshah d’varim ha’olam omëd – the world is sustained by three things: Torah, worship and loving deeds. We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this Friday evening, November 26, 2021.
Zoom continues being updated for security and performance features. In some cases, there are extra steps to go through in order to join a meeting. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this Friday evening:
Topic: Torah Study – Triennial reading Genesis 39:1-40:23
Time: Nov 26, 2021 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Nov 26, 2021 07:30 PM Arizona
To join the Torah Study and/or Shazoom Meeting click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]:
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
This year, Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights (Chag Ha’urim), begins the evening of Sunday, November 28, 2021.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat, and an early Chag Ha’urim Sameach!