Joseph and His Brothers... and Chanukah
1 א

(א) וַיֵּ֣שֶׁב יַעֲקֹ֔ב בְּאֶ֖רֶץ מְגוּרֵ֣י אָבִ֑יו בְּאֶ֖רֶץ כְּנָֽעַן׃

(1) Now Jacob was settled in the land where his father had sojourned, the land of Canaan.

2 ב

אמר רבי יוחנן כל מקום שנאמר וישב אינו אלא לשון צער

Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Everywhere that it is stated: And he dwelt, it is nothing other than an expression of pain

3 ג

(ב) אֵ֣לֶּה ׀ תֹּלְד֣וֹת יַעֲקֹ֗ב יוֹסֵ֞ף בֶּן־שְׁבַֽע־עֶשְׂרֵ֤ה שָׁנָה֙ הָיָ֨ה רֹעֶ֤ה אֶת־אֶחָיו֙ בַּצֹּ֔אן וְה֣וּא נַ֗עַר אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י בִלְהָ֛ה וְאֶת־בְּנֵ֥י זִלְפָּ֖ה נְשֵׁ֣י אָבִ֑יו וַיָּבֵ֥א יוֹסֵ֛ף אֶת־דִּבָּתָ֥ם רָעָ֖ה אֶל־אֲבִיהֶֽם׃ (ג) וְיִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אָהַ֤ב אֶת־יוֹסֵף֙ מִכָּל־בָּנָ֔יו כִּֽי־בֶן־זְקֻנִ֥ים ה֖וּא ל֑וֹ וְעָ֥שָׂה ל֖וֹ כְּתֹ֥נֶת פַּסִּֽים׃ (ד) וַיִּרְא֣וּ אֶחָ֗יו כִּֽי־אֹת֞וֹ אָהַ֤ב אֲבִיהֶם֙ מִכָּל־אֶחָ֔יו וַֽיִּשְׂנְא֖וּ אֹת֑וֹ וְלֹ֥א יָכְל֖וּ דַּבְּר֥וֹ לְשָׁלֹֽם׃

(2) This, then, is the line of Jacob: At seventeen years of age, Joseph tended the flocks with his brothers, as a helper to the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. And Joseph brought bad reports of them to their father. (3) Now Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age; and he had made him an ornamented tunic. (4) And when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of his brothers, they hated him so that they could not speak a friendly word to him.

4 ד

(ד) את דבתם רעה כָּל רָעָה שֶׁהָיָה רוֹאֶה בְאֶחָיו בְנֵי לֵאָה הָיָה מַגִּיד לְאָבִיו, שֶׁהָיוּ אוֹכְלִין אֵבֶר מִן הַחַי וּמְזַלְזְלִין בִּבְנֵי הַשְּׁפָחוֹת לִקְרוֹתָן עֲבָדִים, וַחֲשׁוּדִים עַל הָעֲרָיוֹת וּבִשְׁלָשְׁתָּן לָקָה...

(4) את דבתם רעה THEIR EVIL REPORT — Whatever he saw wrong in his brothers, the sons of Leah, he reported to his father: that they used to eat flesh cut off from a living animal, that they treated the sons of the handmaids with contempt, calling them slaves, and that they were suspected of living in an immoral manner. With three such similar matters he was therefore punished...

5 ה
  • Jacob's favoritism comes AFTER Joseph's "evil reports". Coincidence?
  • Can you see parallels between Joseph's supposed "evil reports" according to Rashi and later events in his story?
6 ו

(ה) וַיַּחֲלֹ֤ם יוֹסֵף֙ חֲל֔וֹם וַיַּגֵּ֖ד לְאֶחָ֑יו וַיּוֹסִ֥פוּ ע֖וֹד שְׂנֹ֥א אֹתֽוֹ׃ (ו) וַיֹּ֖אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶ֑ם שִׁמְעוּ־נָ֕א הַחֲל֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר חָלָֽמְתִּי׃ (ז) וְ֠הִנֵּה אֲנַ֜חְנוּ מְאַלְּמִ֤ים אֲלֻמִּים֙ בְּת֣וֹךְ הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה וְהִנֵּ֛ה קָ֥מָה אֲלֻמָּתִ֖י וְגַם־נִצָּ֑בָה וְהִנֵּ֤ה תְסֻבֶּ֙ינָה֙ אֲלֻמֹּ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם וַתִּֽשְׁתַּחֲוֶ֖יןָ לַאֲלֻמָּתִֽי׃ (ח) וַיֹּ֤אמְרוּ לוֹ֙ אֶחָ֔יו הֲמָלֹ֤ךְ תִּמְלֹךְ֙ עָלֵ֔ינוּ אִם־מָשׁ֥וֹל תִּמְשֹׁ֖ל בָּ֑נוּ וַיּוֹסִ֤פוּ עוֹד֙ שְׂנֹ֣א אֹת֔וֹ עַל־חֲלֹמֹתָ֖יו וְעַל־דְּבָרָֽיו׃ (ט) וַיַּחֲלֹ֥ם עוֹד֙ חֲל֣וֹם אַחֵ֔ר וַיְסַפֵּ֥ר אֹת֖וֹ לְאֶחָ֑יו וַיֹּ֗אמֶר הִנֵּ֨ה חָלַ֤מְתִּֽי חֲלוֹם֙ ע֔וֹד וְהִנֵּ֧ה הַשֶּׁ֣מֶשׁ וְהַיָּרֵ֗חַ וְאַחַ֤ד עָשָׂר֙ כּֽוֹכָבִ֔ים מִֽשְׁתַּחֲוִ֖ים לִֽי׃ (י) וַיְסַפֵּ֣ר אֶל־אָבִיו֮ וְאֶל־אֶחָיו֒ וַיִּגְעַר־בּ֣וֹ אָבִ֔יו וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֔וֹ מָ֛ה הַחֲל֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר חָלָ֑מְתָּ הֲב֣וֹא נָב֗וֹא אֲנִי֙ וְאִמְּךָ֣ וְאַחֶ֔יךָ לְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֺ֥ת לְךָ֖ אָֽרְצָה׃ (יא) וַיְקַנְאוּ־ב֖וֹ אֶחָ֑יו וְאָבִ֖יו שָׁמַ֥ר אֶת־הַדָּבָֽר׃

(5) Once Joseph had a dream which he told to his brothers; and they hated him even more. (6) He said to them, “Hear this dream which I have dreamed: (7) There we were binding sheaves in the field, when suddenly my sheaf stood up and remained upright; then your sheaves gathered around and bowed low to my sheaf.” (8) His brothers answered, “Do you mean to reign over us? Do you mean to rule over us?” And they hated him even more for his talk about his dreams [and for his words]. (9) He dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers, saying, “Look, I have had another dream: And this time, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” (10) And when he told it to his father and brothers, his father berated him. “What,” he said to him, “is this dream you have dreamed? Are we to come, I and your mother and your brothers, and bow low to you to the ground?” (11) So his brothers were wrought up at him, and his father kept the matter in mind.

7 ז
  • Why do the brothers and Jacob all take the dreams as more than just dreams?
  • Why does Joseph tell the first dream only to the brothers, but the second to his father as well? For that matter, why does he tell anyone at all?
  • Why does Jacob mention Joseph's mother, though she died in childbirth a couple of chapters earlier?
8 ח

(א) שמר את הדבר הָיָה מַמְתִּין וּמְצַפֶּה מָתַי יָבֹא...

(1) שמר את הדבר OBSERVED THE MATTER — He awaited and looked forward to the time when this would come to pass...

9 ט

Andrew Lloyd Webber:

"Joseph's Dreams" from Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

NARRATOR:

Joseph's coat annoyed his brothers

BROTHERS:

But what makes us mad

Are the things that Joseph tells us of the dreams he's often had

JOSEPH:

I dreamed that in the fields one day, the corn gave me a sign

Your eleven sheaves of corn all turned and bowed to mine

My sheaf was quite a sight to see, a golden sheaf and tall

Yours were green and second-rate and really rather small

BROTHERS:

This is not the kind of thing we brothers like to hear

It seems to us that Joseph and his dreams should disappear

JOSEPH:

I dreamed I saw eleven stars, the sun and moon and sky

Bowing down before my star, it made me wonder why

Could it be that I was born for higher things than you?

A post in someone's government, a ministry or two?

BROTHERS:

The dreams of our dear brother are the decade's biggest yawn

His talk of stars and golden sheaves is just a load of corn

Not only is he tactless but he's also rather dim

For there's eleven of us and there's only one of him

The dreams of course will not come true

That is, we think they won't come true

That is, we hope they won't come true

What if he's right all along?

The dreams are more than crystal clear, the writing on the wall

Means that Joseph some day soon will rise above us all

The accuracy of the dreams we brothers do not know

But one thing we are sure about -- the dreamer has to go

10 י
  • How does the musical's version of the dreams differ from the Torah's account? What about the brothers' complaints regarding Joseph?
11 יא

(כג) וַֽיְהִ֕י כַּֽאֲשֶׁר־בָּ֥א יוֹסֵ֖ף אֶל־אֶחָ֑יו וַיַּפְשִׁ֤יטוּ אֶת־יוֹסֵף֙ אֶת־כֻּתָּנְתּ֔וֹ אֶת־כְּתֹ֥נֶת הַפַּסִּ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָלָֽיו׃ (כד) וַיִּ֨קָּחֻ֔הוּ וַיַּשְׁלִ֥כוּ אֹת֖וֹ הַבֹּ֑רָה וְהַבּ֣וֹר רֵ֔ק אֵ֥ין בּ֖וֹ מָֽיִם׃

(23) When Joseph came up to his brothers, they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the ornamented tunic that he was wearing, (24) and took him and cast him into the pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.

12 יב

Now we get to the connection with Chanukah

13 יג

נר של חנוכה שהניחה למעלה מכ' אמה פסולה כסוכה וכמבוי: ואמר רב כהנא דרש רב נתן בר מניומי משמיה דרב תנחום מאי דכתיב (בראשית לז, כד) והבור רק אין בו מים ממשמע שנא' והבור רק איני יודע שאין בו מים אלא מה ת"ל אין בו מים מים אין בו אבל נחשים ועקרבים יש בו:

A Hanukkah lamp that one placed above twenty cubits is invalid, just as a sukka whose roofing is more than twenty cubits high, and just as an alleyway .... And the Gemara cites another statement [by the same Rabbi] ...: What is the meaning of the verse: “And they took him, and cast him into the pit; and the pit was empty, there was no water in it” (Genesis 37:24)? By inference from that which is stated: "And the pit was empty," don’t I know that there was no water in it? Rather, why does the verse say: There was no water in it? The verse comes to emphasize and teach that there was no water in it, but there were snakes and scorpions in it.

14יד

תורה תמימה בראשית לז:כד אות כ'
וצ"ל שראובן ואחיו לא ידעו שבבור יש נחשים ועקרבים, שהרי חשב ע"פ עצה זו להשיבו אל אביו... הבור עמוק עשרים אמה ויותר, וקיי"ל דלמעלה מעשרים אין עינו של אדם שולטת כמו דקיי"ל לענין נר חנוכה וסוכה

Torah Temima Genesis 37:24, Section 20

You must say that Reuben and his brothers did not know that there were snakes and scorpions, becuase [Reuben] planned to return Joseph to their father.... The pit was at least 20 amot deep, and we hold that the eyes cannot see something at a height or depth of 20 amot, as we hold regarding Channuka candles and the Schach of a sukka.

15 טו
  • Psalm 30 also mentions a pit, and is often associated with Chanukah, because it has the words Chanukat HaBayit (dedication of the house) in it. But which house is being dedicated?
16 טז

(א) מִזְמ֡וֹר שִׁיר־חֲנֻכַּ֖ת הַבַּ֣יִת לְדָוִֽד׃ (ב) אֲרוֹמִמְךָ֣ ה' כִּ֣י דִלִּיתָ֑נִי וְלֹא־שִׂמַּ֖חְתָּ אֹיְבַ֣י לִֽי׃ (ג) ה' אֱלֹקי שִׁוַּ֥עְתִּי אֵ֝לֶ֗יךָ וַתִּרְפָּאֵֽנִי׃ (ד) ה' הֶֽעֱלִ֣יתָ מִן־שְׁא֣וֹל נַפְשִׁ֑י חִ֝יִּיתַ֗נִי מיורדי־[מִיָּֽרְדִי־] בֽוֹר׃

(1) A psalm of David. A song for the dedication of the House. (2) I extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up, and not let my enemies rejoice over me. (3) O LORD, my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me. (4) O LORD, You brought me up from Sheol, preserved me from going down into the Pit.

17 יז

(א) מזמור, חנוכת הבית - יש אומרים: שצוה דוד שינגנו המשוררים זה המזמור בחנוכת הבית הראשון. ויש אומרים: בחנוכת הבית השני או השלישי, כי דמה ימי הגלות לימי החולי כאשר אפרש. והקרוב אלי: כי זה המזמור חברו בחנוכת ביתו בית ארזים, כי הכתוב לא הזכיר בית השם...

(1) A psalm; a song of dedication of the House – There are those who say that David commanded that the singers play this song at the dedication of the First Temple, and those who say at the dedication of the Second Temple or the Third, because he compared the time of exile to a time of sickness as I will explain. It seems to me that he composed this song at the dedication of his own house, the House of Cedars, because the psalm does not mention the House of God....

18 יח

(יא) וַ֠יִּשְׁלַח חִירָ֨ם מֶֽלֶךְ־צֹ֥ר מַלְאָכִים֮ אֶל־דָּוִד֒ וַעֲצֵ֣י אֲרָזִ֔ים וְחָרָשֵׁ֣י עֵ֔ץ וְחָֽרָשֵׁ֖י אֶ֣בֶן קִ֑יר וַיִּבְנֽוּ־בַ֖יִת לְדָוִֽד׃ (יב) וַיֵּ֣דַע דָּוִ֔ד כִּֽי־הֱכִינ֧וֹ ה' לְמֶ֖לֶךְ עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְכִי֙ נִשֵּׂ֣א מַמְלַכְתּ֔וֹ בַּעֲב֖וּר עַמּ֥וֹ יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

(11) King Hiram of Tyre sent envoys to David with cedar logs, carpenters, and stonemasons; and they built a palace for David. (12) Thus David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingship for the sake of His people Israel.

19 יט

(א) וַיְהִ֕י כִּי־יָשַׁ֥ב הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ בְּבֵית֑וֹ וַה' הֵנִֽיחַ־ל֥וֹ מִסָּבִ֖יב מִכָּל־אֹיְבָֽיו׃ (ב) וַיֹּ֤אמֶר הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ אֶל־נָתָ֣ן הַנָּבִ֔יא רְאֵ֣ה נָ֔א אָנֹכִ֥י יוֹשֵׁ֖ב בְּבֵ֣ית אֲרָזִ֑ים וַֽאֲרוֹן֙ הָֽאֱלֹקים יֹשֵׁ֖ב בְּת֥וֹךְ הַיְרִיעָֽה׃ ... (ד) וַיְהִ֖י בַּלַּ֣יְלָה הַה֑וּא וַֽיְהִי֙ דְּבַר־ה' אֶל־נָתָ֖ן לֵאמֹֽר׃ (ה) לֵ֤ךְ וְאָֽמַרְתָּ֙ אֶל־עַבְדִּ֣י אֶל־דָּוִ֔ד כֹּ֖ה אָמַ֣ר ה' הַאַתָּ֛ה תִּבְנֶה־לִּ֥י בַ֖יִת לְשִׁבְתִּֽי׃ (ו) כִּ֣י לֹ֤א יָשַׁ֙בְתִּי֙ בְּבַ֔יִת לְ֠מִיּוֹם הַעֲלֹתִ֞י אֶת־בְּנֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ מִמִּצְרַ֔יִם וְעַ֖ד הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה וָאֶֽהְיֶה֙ מִתְהַלֵּ֔ךְ בְּאֹ֖הֶל וּבְמִשְׁכָּֽן׃ (ז) בְּכֹ֥ל אֲשֶֽׁר־הִתְהַלַּכְתִּי֮ בְּכָל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵל֒ הֲדָבָ֣ר דִּבַּ֗רְתִּי אֶת־אַחַד֙ שִׁבְטֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוִּ֗יתִי לִרְע֛וֹת אֶת־עַמִּ֥י אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לֵאמֹ֑ר לָ֛מָּה לֹֽא־בְנִיתֶ֥ם לִ֖י בֵּ֥ית אֲרָזִֽים׃ ... (יא) וּלְמִן־הַיּ֗וֹם אֲשֶׁ֨ר צִוִּ֤יתִי שֹֽׁפְטִים֙ עַל־עַמִּ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַהֲנִיחֹ֥תִי לְךָ֖ מִכָּל־אֹיְבֶ֑יךָ וְהִגִּ֤יד לְךָ֙ ה' כִּי־בַ֖יִת יַעֲשֶׂה־לְּךָ֥ ה'׃ (יב) כִּ֣י ׀ יִמְלְא֣וּ יָמֶ֗יךָ וְשָֽׁכַבְתָּ֙ אֶת־אֲבֹתֶ֔יךָ וַהֲקִימֹתִ֤י אֶֽת־זַרְעֲךָ֙ אַחֲרֶ֔יךָ אֲשֶׁ֥ר יֵצֵ֖א מִמֵּעֶ֑יךָ וַהֲכִינֹתִ֖י אֶת־מַמְלַכְתּֽוֹ׃ (יג) ה֥וּא יִבְנֶה־בַּ֖יִת לִשְׁמִ֑י וְכֹנַנְתִּ֛י אֶת־כִּסֵּ֥א מַמְלַכְתּ֖וֹ עַד־עוֹלָֽם׃ (יד) אֲנִי֙ אֶהְיֶה־לּ֣וֹ לְאָ֔ב וְה֖וּא יִהְיֶה־לִּ֣י לְבֵ֑ן אֲשֶׁר֙ בְּהַ֣עֲוֺת֔וֹ וְהֹֽכַחְתִּיו֙ בְּשֵׁ֣בֶט אֲנָשִׁ֔ים וּבְנִגְעֵ֖י בְּנֵ֥י אָדָֽם׃ (טו) וְחַסְדִּ֖י לֹא־יָס֣וּר מִמֶּ֑נּוּ כַּאֲשֶׁ֤ר הֲסִרֹ֙תִי֙ מֵעִ֣ם שָׁא֔וּל אֲשֶׁ֥ר הֲסִרֹ֖תִי מִלְּפָנֶֽיךָ׃ (טז) וְנֶאְמַ֨ן בֵּיתְךָ֧ וּמַֽמְלַכְתְּךָ֛ עַד־עוֹלָ֖ם לְפָנֶ֑יךָ כִּֽסְאֲךָ֔ יִהְיֶ֥ה נָכ֖וֹן עַד־עוֹלָֽם׃

(1) When the king was settled in his palace and the LORD had granted him safety from all the enemies around him, (2) the king said to the prophet Nathan: “Here I am dwelling in a house of cedar, while the Ark of the LORD abides in a tent!” ... (4) But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan: (5) “Go and say to My servant David: Thus said the LORD: Are you the one to build a house for Me to dwell in? (6) From the day that I brought the people of Israel out of Egypt to this day I have not dwelt in a house, but have moved about in Tent and Tabernacle. (7) As I moved about wherever the Israelites went, did I ever reproach any of the tribal leaders whom I appointed to care for My people Israel: Why have you not built Me a house of cedar? ... (11) ever since I appointed chieftains over My people Israel. I will give you safety from all your enemies. “The LORD declares to you that He, the LORD, will establish a house for you. (12) When your days are done and you lie with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own issue, and I will establish his kingship. (13) He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish his royal throne forever. (14) I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to Me. When he does wrong, I will chastise him with the rod of men and the affliction of mortals; (15) but I will never withdraw My favor from him as I withdrew it from Saul, whom I removed to make room for you. (16) Your house and your kingship shall ever be secure before you; your throne shall be established forever.”

20 כ
  • What house does David build? Is it a Temple for God?
  • God says that one of David's descendants will build a house for God--is God talking about a literal house or a figurative house? Is David talking about a literal house or a figurative house?
  • Does this prophecy remind you of anything else?