As a child, my family would enjoy Hanukkah brunch at my grandmother’s home in Omaha, Nebraska. We would light the candles, say the blessings, and, without fail, eat to our hearts’ content. After the meal, my cousins, siblings, and I would relocate to the basement to play with toys, hide-and-seek, and even the occasional board game. One Hanukkah, I was feeling particularly mischievous, and I guess I might have said something that got on my brother’s nerves. Who can blame me? I was only a child. Angrily, he chased me for a good few laps around the basement, all because of something a little rude I said...
I don’t remember how the story ends, however, growing up, I can tell you that not every family gathering of mine was rainbows and butterflies. So too in our Torah with the infamous story of Joseph and his relationship with his siblings, our biblical ancestors did not always have rainbows and butterflies at their family gatherings, either.
My Jewish Learning, Summary of Introduction to Parashat Vayeshev
These are the descendants of Jacob. Joseph was 17 and a shepherd watching sheep with his brothers. In an evil manner, Joseph reported his brothers’ idle talk to his father. But Jacob loved Joseph more than all his other sons and made him an embroidered coat. When the brothers saw that their father loved Joseph more, they hated him.
- How can we understand the role of Joseph in his family system?
- What can we learn from the fact that our ancestors could not speak peacefully to one another?
- Do any of the words of our above commentators resonate with you? If so, which one and why? If not, what comment might you add?