DVAR TORAH – VAYESHEV
The dramatic story of Yosef and his brothers plays the major role in this week’s parsha. We learned that Yakov favored Yosef over all his sons, and the Talmud teaches us, that it resulted finally in the Egyptian exile. Because of Yosef’s favored status, he receives a coat of many colors depicting his fathers love, and possibly even his dominion over them. Yosef lords it over his older brothers, telling them of dreams that convey his sense of superiority. It has been noted that the two dreams Yosef shares with them are symbolic of his superiority; materially and spiritually. This is perhaps a clue to the brothers’ true character in their reactions to the dreams. Because of the dream portending his physical mastery, “they hated him.” For the prediction of his spiritual superiority, “his brother envied him.” The brothers decide to get rid of him and throw him into an empty pit. He is then sold to a passing caravan on its way to Egypt. In Egypt he is sold into slavery to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s penitentiary. From here, the Torah details the strange course of events that lands Yosef in jail and then miraculously into Pharaoh’s service as his Viceroy, and second in command of all Egypt. All the while, Yakov is grieving for his lost beloved son, unwilling to be comforted, only wanting to live the rest of his life in peace. With the loss of his beloved son Yosef, that is no longer possible. Yakov bewails his difficult and arduous life as the Torah spells it out in the first words of the parsha. Yakov wanted to dwell in the land of his fathers in peace. Rashi relates the word Va’Yeshev (and he dwelled) means, “Bekash Yakov Layshev Be’Shalva“, Yakov wanted to live in peace. Rashi writes, “Kofatz Alav Rugzo Shel Yosef,” the problems and difficulty of Yosef were thrust upon him. Rashi comments righteous people want to live in peace. However, we have come to understand that peace is very elusive even for the very righteous and is only guaranteed in the world to come.
Let’s make the best of what we are blessed with and leave the rest to the final arbiter, Hashem.
The Holiday of Hanukah starts this Sunday night b’h. It is a holiday of lights and love to all people. The candles of the menorah represent our light unto the world and a show of love and affection to all Jews throughout the world.
Chag Hanukah Sameach
Rabbi Gabe Elias