B’reshit / Gen. 37:1-40:23

Haftará: Amos 2:6-3:8

Brit Hadashah: Mattitiyahu / Mt. 1:18-25

VaYeshev means “and settled”. 

Summary of Parashat VaYéshev  B’reshit / Gen. 37:1-40:23

Ya’akov settles in  Hevrón with his 12 sons.

(How many of you have a favorite child?)

(Good thing that none of them raised their hands.)

Some interpreters comment that Israel was probably reckless in favoring Yosef. 

But, in truth, he had good reason to believe that Yosef was the one he could best trust to have such authority among the brethren. 

Simply put; Israel saw spiritual qualities in Yosef that he did not discern in his other sons. 

It was because of this that he made Joseph a robe of “various colors.”

Yosef’s brothers are jealous of the preferential treatment he receives, such as the multicolored sack that  Ya’akov made him. 

Hebrew:  כְּתֹנֶת פַּסִּים  “ketonet passim”.

It was a royal garment; 2 Samuel 13:18.

The word passim can be translated as:

«Embroidery» (Abraham ben Meir ibn Ezra; Ibn PaqudaNahmanides  in  Exodus  28:2),

«striped» (Abu Al-walid Marwan ibn Janah; RadakSherashim),

or «with drawings» in the(Tárgum deJonathan). 

It can also denote a long garment, which descends to the palms of the hands (Rashbam; Ibn EzraTosafot; Genesis Rabbah 84), and the feet (Lekaj Tov). 

Alternatively, the word denotes the material from which the robe was made, which was fine wool (Rashi) or silk (Ibn Jánaj). 

Therefore, kethoneth passim, can be translated as:

“a full-sleeved robe”, 

“a robe of many colors”, 

“a robe that reaches up to the feet”,

‘an ornate robe’, 

‘a silk tunic’, 

or ‘a fine wool mantle’.

and “unfit to work”.

The phrase is used once again in the Hebrew Scriptures, to describe the garment worn by Tamar (daughter of David), in  2 Samuel 13:18-19.

We continue with the summary of the parashat.

And Yosef tells his brothers two dreams he has, which prophesy that he is destined to rule over them, increasing envy and hatred towards him.

Shimon and Levi plan to kill him, but Reuven suggests, in return, throwing him into a pit, intending to return later and save him. 

While Yosef is in the well, Yehudah sells it to a caravan of Ishmaelites. 

The brothers stain Yosef’s special sack in the blood of a kid and show it to their father, making him think that their dearest son was devoured by a wild beast.

“They can take away your colorful robe, but Not the dream that HaShem deposited in you.”

Yehudah marries and has three children: Er,  Onnan, and  Selah

The eldest, Er, dies young and childless, and his wife, Tamar, is given in marriage to their second child, Onán. 

Onan sins by shedding his seed and also dies young.

Yehudah does not want Tamar to marry her third child. 

Determined to have a son from Yehuda’s family, Tamar disguises herself as a prostitute and seduces Yehudah himself. 

Later, Yehudah learns that Tamar is pregnant and has her killed for infidelity, but when she shows certain personal items that Yehudah left as a guarantee of payment, he publicly admits that he is the father. 

Tamar has two sons, Peretz (ancestor of King David) and Zeraj.

Yosef is taken to Egypt and sold to Potiphar, the minister in charge of Pharaoh’s butchery. 

HaShem blesses everything he does and is soon appointed in charge of all his master’s properties. 

Potiphar’s wife desires the boy; when Yosef refuses to be with her, she tells her husband that the Hebrew servant tried to force her, and they send him to prison. 

Yosef gains the trust of the jailers, who give him an important position in the administration of the prison.

In prison, Yosef meets Pharaoh’s Master of Cupmakers and Master of Bakers, both imprisoned by the king. 

The two have a dream, which Yosef interprets; in three days, he tells them, the Master of Cupmakers will be released and the Master of Bakers will be hanged.

Yosef asks the Master Cupbearer to intercede for him with Pharaoh.

Yosef’s predictions are fulfilled, but the Master of Cupmakers forgets Yosef.

1st Comments

Reader 37:1 (G#19)

Thus begins our Parsha.

Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.

It is not the same to inhabit as to pilgrimage. 

The attitude of a pilgrim is that he does not have a fixed dwelling, he is always on his way to another place. 

Now Ya’akov has the desire to settle down and stop being a pilgrim. 

When a righteous person wants to stop fighting and enjoy this life, he is trying to get out in advance what he will receive in the world to come. 

But HaShem did not allow him to do this and the problem with Yosef happened to him.

It is necessary to have struggles in this life in order to be spiritually healthy. 

When there is no conflict, and everything is going well there is a tendency to want to loosen up and sleep spiritually. 

Problems and struggles keep us on our toes and force us to seek the Eternal Ones at all times. 

The Son of God learned obedience through sufferings, as written in Hebrews 5:8:

Though he was a Son, he learned obedience by what he suffered”.

So, he who wants to flee from suffering and trouble will never learn obedience.

Moreover, the same sufferings we go through in the olam hazé, this century, produce a glory that will remain in the  olam habá, the age to come, as it is written in  2 Corinthians 4:17:

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 

In Romans 8:16-18 it is written: 

16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

To be heirs in the coming century you have to suffer with the Messiah. 

The more now we suffer the more glory we will have then, as it is written in 1 Peter 1:7:

“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Yeshua Ha Mashiach is revealed.” 

In 1 Peter 4:13 it is written: (G#24)

But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Mashiach, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”

In Hebrews 11:35b it is written: (G#25)

“There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.”

In 1 Corinthians 15:41  it is written in connection with the resurrection:

“The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.”

2nd Comments

B’reshit / Gen.37:8 (G#27)

“His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him even more because of his dream and what he had said.”

Why so much struggle between brothers?

Children are the reflection of their parents. 

Both the good and the bad of the parents are passed on to the children. 

Transmission is biological, psychological, and spiritual. 

In the children is the story of the parents.

The genes, attitudes, and spirit that parents have passed to their children. 

For this reason, this parsha begins by saying: “This is the generational story of  Ya’akov: Yosef…”

In the children is the history of the parents.

Leah v/s Rakhel

The attitudes and relationships between the mothers of the twelve children of Israel are reflected in the children in an increased way.

Between Leah and Rakhel there was a great rivalry, even the names they put on their sons reflect this power struggle between them.

“Who Can Do More”

In this environment of competition and eagerness to “who can do more” children were raised.

In addition, the favoritism that Jacob showed towards Rakhel, and Yosef caused envy among others.

The tension in the family was strong. 

It is obvious that polygamy is not recommended, although it was allowed by the  Torah.

(Do you know what the curse of polygamy is? Have two mothers-in-law.)

Transmitted Inheritance

When parents see defects in their children, they should not blame their children for it, but review their own lives and ask the  Eternal for forgiveness for those things that are unpleasant to them and that they have transmitted to their children.

Close Relationship with Your Parents

If parents manage to be free from these flaws in their attitudes and behavior, children will have an easier time letting go of those things, especially if children continue to have a close relationship with their parents.

Dreams That Came from Heaven

We do not know what Yosef’s motive was in telling his dreams, whether he did so in the spirit of “competition “that reigned among his brothers, or simply because his dreams, which “came from heaven“, impacted him so much that he had to tell someone.

Spirit of Rivalry

In the event that he was also tainted by the “spirit of rivalry,” it is obvious that he managed to be delivered from it before having the sons  Menashé and  Ephrayim, both of whom are one of the best examples in Scripture of people having peace among them even though the younger was placed upon the greater (48:14).

Blessing on Sons

Therefore, every Shabbat, the father lays his hands on his sons and pronounces the following blessing on them:

ישמך אלקים כאפרים וכמנשה.  

Yesimchah Elokim ke-Efráyim ve-chi-Mnashé. 

– May the Almighty make you like Ephrayim and  Menashé. (48:20)

Purposes in Life

Yosef managed to break that “spirit of competition” and struggle that existed among his brothers, and that is reflected in his children.

Despite this attitude of struggle, envy, and hatred between brothers, the Eternal Ones was able to fulfill his purposes with this family.

He precisely used this situation to fulfill his divine plans and precisely because of this cruel reality Yosef was sent to  Mitzrayim in order to become the savior of the world and of  Israel.

Bad inclination

The Eternal is great enough to use the effects of our yetzer will do – “bad inclination” – to fulfill His purposes on earth.


May HaShem help us to transmit what He likes for our children.

Shabbat Shalom Mishpochah!


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