VaYeshev - ”and he settled” - Genesis 37:1-40:23

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Genesis 37:

  1. And Jacob lived in the land where his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan:
  2. These are the generations of Jacob; Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brothers; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives; and Joseph brought to his father their evil report:
  3. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a coat with long sleeves:
  4. And when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him:
  5. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brothers; and they hated him even more:

Yoseph (Joseph) is seventeen years of age when all this plays out…   Remember when we were seventeen?  Young, thought we knew it all, ready to show-off ourselves and anything we had, not knowing how to truly be merciful, not knowing how to address situations with tact.

Yoseph had a dream.  This dream invoked hatred among his brothers.  This dream dealt with an aspect of Joseph’s life, his wealth.  Notice in the dream that his brother’s did not bow down to him, but their sheaves bowed to his sheaf.  The sheaves were symbols of wealth. 

Later in Yosephs next dream, the stars in heaven are bowing to him.  Here the allusion is obvious and is stated in the text.  But the emotion brought forth is not hatred but jealousy. 

Why jealousy?

The stars and the heavens were not just allusions to people, but to their spiritual state.  The dream presented the idea that Yoseph was to be more spiritually minded than the others.His life would be dedicated to service.  This brought about jealousy.  The brothers all wanted to have a closer relationship with Elohim.

We see this same thing happening today.  The purpose of the wild olive branches being grafted into the cultivated olive tree is for the purpose of jealousy.

ROM 11:17    And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

But are those who have grafted in making the natural branches jealous?  For the most part no.  Most of those who believe they are grafted in do not observe Torah, but instead teach against it or ignore it.  But they “consider” themselves grafted in.

Those who are grafted in are warned:

ROM 11:24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural [branches], be grafted into their own olive tree?

Most people today do not believe that this will happen.  “Once saved always save..”  But salvation doesn’t come from our perfect observance of Torah, it is a free gift.  But we could throw that gift away and lose it by rejection of Torah.  Those who reject Torah will be “Cut off”, they will be removed from the tree. 

The thing which makes us jealous is when someone is doing something better than we.  This is especially true of spiritual matters.  As we become more observant of Torah, those who are not become more jealous.  Most of the time they will ridicule and try to stop you from doing what you are doing, effectively trying to bring you down to their level.

Here after Yoseph’s second dream, his brothers do just that.  They are not happy with his piety, so instead of attempting to lift themselves up to his level, they instead attempt to pull him down.  They discuss killing him bur Reuven won’t let them. 

Yehudah seeks to profit from this whole ordeal.  He suggest that they sell Yoseph to some passing Yishmaelites.  This was done for twenty pieces of silver. 

Reuven was unaware of his brothers’ treachery and was unaware of what had happened to Yoseph.  He tore his garments at the sight of the pit being empty.  The others, instead of seeking a more righteous path, took a path of lies and deceit.  They even killed a kid of the goats from their father’s flock to cover up the incident.

They took Yoseph’s robe and put the ram’s blood on it and presented it to Yitzach.  When Yitzach saw the robe he wept and tore his clothes.  There is an interesting story about what followed in Sepher HaYashar (Book of Jasher):

Jasher 43:36  And after this, Jacob rose up from the ground, and his tears were running down his cheeks, and he said unto his sons, Rise up and take your swords and your bows, and go forth into the field, and seek whether you can find my son's body and bring it unto me that I may bury it.
Jasher 43:37  Seek also, I pray you, among the beasts and hunt them, and that which shall come the first before you seize and bring it unto me, perhaps Elohim will this day pity my affliction, and prepare before you that which did tear my son in pieces, and bring it unto me, and I will avenge the cause of my son.
Jasher 43:38  And his sons did as their father had commanded them, and they rose up early in the morning, and each took his sword and his bow in his hand, and they went forth into the field to hunt the beasts.
Jasher 43:39  And Jacob was still crying aloud and weeping and walking to and fro in the house, and smiting his hands together, saying, Joseph my son, Joseph my son.
Jasher 43:40  And the sons of Jacob went into the wilderness to seize the beasts, and behold a wolf came toward them, and they seized him, and brought him unto their father, and they said unto him, This is the first we have found, and we have brought him unto thee as thou didst command us, and thy son's body we could not find.
Jasher 43:41  And Jacob took the beast from the hands of his sons, and he cried out with a loud and weeping voice, holding the beast in his hand, and he spoke with a bitter heart unto the beast, Why didst thou devour my son Joseph, and how didst thou have no fear of the YHWH of the earth, or of my trouble for my son Joseph?
Jasher 43:42  And thou didst devour my son for naught, because he committed no violence, and didst thereby render me culpable on his account, therefore YHWH will require him that is persecuted.
Jasher 43:43  And Elohim opened the mouth of the beast in order to comfort Jacob with its words, and it answered Jacob and spoke these words unto him,
Jasher 43:44  As YHWH liveth who created us in the earth, and as thy soul liveth, my lord, I did not see thy son, neither did I tear him to pieces, but from a distant land I also came to seek my son who went from me this day, and I know not whether he be living or dead.
Jasher 43:45  And I came this day into the field to seek my son, and your sons found me, and seized me and increased my grief, and have this day brought me before thee, and I have now spoken all my words to thee.
Jasher 43:46  And now therefore, O son of man, I am in thy hands, and do unto me this day as it may seem good in thy sight, but by the life of YHWH who created me, I did not see thy son, nor did I tear him to pieces, neither has the flesh of man entered my mouth all the days of my life.
Jasher 43:47  And when Jacob heard the words of the beast he was greatly astonished, and sent forth the beast from his hand, and she went her way.
Jasher 43:48  And Jacob was still crying aloud and weeping for Joseph day after day, and he mourned for his son many days.

So Ya’acov even had a fleece attesting to Yoseph’s disappearance.  His fleece that he had asked for did not come to pass.  Yoseph’s brothers had a shange of heart after the sale but the Yismaelites who now had Yoseph could not be found.  So upon this sin, the fate of Yisrael for 400 years of future affliction is now set.  The stage is prepared for Yoseph’s dreams to be fulfilled, though it is doubtful that his brothers even thought about the dreams again – until they were in his presence again and he was made known to them.

How sin travels.  One leads to another and to another.  It is said that if a person violates one of the commandments, he has violated them all… How true a statement.  For in violating one, we must invariable violate others to cover our initial sin.  Then we must violate more to conceal those.  Before we are done, we have violated them all.

Let us be watch full that we bring each other to jealousy in such a way as to cause us to become more observant and not less.  Let us not bring each other to scorn as we seek to become pious individuals.  Let us not sin against each other in our struggle to understand the words of Elohim.

Shabbat Shalom.