VaYeshev: Coats and Goats

December 10, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
We tend to divide the Bible into narrative and law. The former teaches ethical and moral values while the latter instructs us on how we must conduct our life on a day-to-day basis. Yet it would be a mistake to see these as two separate realms. The stories, many concentrated in Sefer Breisheet, often serve as the background to the law as later promulgated in the Torah. Perhaps the most obvious example is Yaakov's struggle with the angel,...
Continue Reading »

VaYeshev: The Successful Man

December 20, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our Sages attach the appellation Tzadik, righteous one, to Yosef, presumably because of his ability to withstand the sexual advances of Potiphar’s wife. Yet the Torah itself refers to Yosef as an Ish Matzliach[1], a successful person, no less than three times. And what a success story Yosef is. Pulled out of a pit and sold into slavery, Yosef rises to be the second most powerful person in the world...
Continue Reading »

VaYeshev: Respectfully Declined

November 30, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And Yaakov ripped his garments and put sackcloth on his loins, and he mourned for his son many days” (Breisheet 37:34). Thinking—with good reason—that Yosef, his favourite son, was dead, Yaakov was inconsolable, and he “refused to be comforted” (Breisheet 38:33). His misery was compounded by the fact that there was no body, no funeral, and thus, no possibility of closure. Yet our Sages (Megillah 17a)...
Continue Reading »

Vayeshev: Sibling Rivalry

December 08, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The Talmud records that one who has no dreams for a period of seven days is called a wicked person (Brachot 55b). Dreams represent our innermost thoughts, our concerns of the present, and our aspirations for the future. One must never cease to dream of the wonderful possibilities that may await us, constantly looking heavenward as we try to improve the status quo. The story of Yosef teaches us that some dreams are best not revealed. Yet it was...
Continue Reading »

VaYeshev: Time to Grow Up

December 23, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Perhaps no Biblical story fascinates us like that of Yosef and his brothers. Its twists and turns are full of drama, intrigue, tragedy, violence, sex, cunning and pathos, and features common folk and royalty alike. It even has a happy ending—everything to ensure a best seller. The Torah’s interest lies not in the excitement of the story, but in the multifold lessons derived from its proper analysis. The Torah is well aware that...
Continue Reading »