Parashat Vayeshev

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Parashat Vayeshev


History of Yackov

Yackov dwelt in the land of his father, in Canaan.

In Contrast to Eisav

After describing the genealogy of Eisav very briefly since they were not important enough to expand open their colonization, wars and conquest of the Chori, the Torah provides the history of Yackov in great detail, since they are important by Hashem.[1] This is similar to the ten generations between Adam and Noach and between Noach and Avraham. They were described very briefly until Noach and Avraham were reached and expanded upon in great detail.[1] It is comparable to gem lost in the sand, where one sifts through the sand until he finds the gem and then casts the pebbles from his hand leaving only the gem.[1]

Yosef the Generations of Yackov

When Yackov saw all the chieftains of Esov he wondered how they could be conquered. However his descendant Yosef was like a flame who could destroy and consume them all. This is comparable to a flax dealer entered a town with his camels laden with flax. The blacksmith wondered where all the flax would go. A clever person replied that a single spark from his bellows could burn it all.[1] Also Yosef was one who triggered the series of events that led to their wandering and descent to Egypt.[2] Additionally Yackov had served Lavan only for Rachel and Yosef was her son.[2] Yosefs features also resembled Yackov[2] and many events that occurred to Yackov occurred to Yosef.[2] Both were hated and both had siblings that tried to kill them.[2]

Dreams of Yosef

When Yosef was seventeen years old, he served as a shepherd along with his brothers watching the flocks. He was especially friendly to the the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah. Yosef would bring evil tales of his brothers to Yackov.

Kitonet Passim

Yockov loved Yosef more then all his sons, since he was born in his old age. He made a fine woolen striped coat for him. Upon seeing this extra love, the brothers began hating Yosef and they could not speak with him peacefully.

First Dream

Yosef had a dream where he was binding sheaves of wheat along with his brothers in the midst of a field. Suddenly his sheaf arose and stood upright and the sheaves of the brothers encircled it and bowed down to it. Yosef related the dream to his brothers and they continued to hate him saying he wished to rule over and govern them.

Second Dream

Yosef had another dream where the sun, moon and eleven stars were prostrating themselves to him. He related it to his brothers in front of his father. Yackov rebuked him for trying to claim that He, his mother and brothers will come and prostrate themselves to him. His brothers envied Yosef, but Yackov awaited to see what would happen.

The Sale

The brothers went to pasture their father's flocks in Shechem. Yackov requested from Yosef to check up on the welfare of his brothers and the flocks. When Yosef willingly agreed, Yackov sent him from the valley of Chevron.


When Yosef arrived at Shechem, as he strayed in the fields he was approached by a man he asked him what he searched for. When Yosef replied that he sought his brothers, asking where they were pasturing, the man replied that they had traveled from there but had overheard discuss going to Dothan. Yosef went after his brothers, and found them in Dothan.

The Plan

When the brothers saw Yosef approaching from far they said one to the other, "Behold, that dreamer is coming". They plotted against him to put him to death, by casting him into one of the pits and would see what would become of his dreams. They could later claim that a wild beast devoured him.

Intervention of Reuvain

When Reuvain heard this he objected saying they should not shed blood by killing him themselves.Instead they should cast Yosef into a desert pit. Thus Reuvain saved him from their hands, planing to later return Yosef to his father.

Assault on Yosef

When Yosef reached his brothers, they stripped him of his special robe. They then took Yosef and cast him into an empty pit that had no water in it. The brothers then sat down to eat a meal.

Selling of Yosef

They lifted their eyes and saw a caravan of Yishmoelim was coming from Gilead, their camels were carrying spices, balm, and lotus, on route to Egypt. Yehuda said to the brothers what gain would they have if they killed Yosef and covered up his blood. Instead they could sell him to the Yishmoelim. They would also gain that their own hands would not harm their brother who was their flesh. The brothers agreed.

A caravan of Midianite merchants, passed by and Yosef from the pit, They sold him to the Yishmoelim for twenty silver coins. The Yishmoelim brought Yosef to Egypt.

The sale of Yosef and the suffering it brought upon Yackov was because had had tried to dwell in tranquility. However the righteous should be satisfied with their reward in the World to Come and should not seek to also dwell in tranquility in this World.[2]

Cover Up

When Reuvain returned to the pit and Yosef was not there, he tore his garments. He returned to his brothers saying the boy was gone and now where would he go. The brothers took Yosef's coat, they slaughtered a baby goat and dipped the coat in the blood. They then sent the special coat to their father telling him they found it and asking him if he recognized it as his son's coat or not. When Yackov recognized it he said it was his son's coat and a wild beast had devoured him; Yosef had surely been torn up. Yackov tore his garments and put sackcloth on his waist. He mourned his son for many days. All his sons and daughters tried to console him, but he refused to be consoled. He said he will descend on account of his son as a mourner to the grave". Yackov wept for him.

Incident of Yehuda

House of Potifar

The Midianites sold Yosef to Egypt, to Potiphar, Pharaoh's chamberlain, chief of the slaughterers.

Test of Yosef


The Royal Baker & Cupbearer


  1. ^ a b c d Rashi Shemos 37:1
  2. ^ a b c d e f Rashi Shemos 37:2
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