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Parshat Vayeishev

5760 This week's Torah Section relates the strange and tragic story of ten brothers, the righteous sons of our patriarch Yisroel, whose hatred was so intense that it drove them to attempt the cold-blooded murder of their own seventeen-year-old brother.
5761 This story takes place about one hundred years ago in Baghdad at the Shabbat table of Mr. Avraham Pinchas, a rich Jewish merchant. Usually Mr. Pinchas had a table full of guests but this Shabbat he only had one; a poor man that he had invited from the Bait Knesset (Synagogue).
5762 This week we read in the Torah about the imprisonment of Yosef (Josef) the eleventh son of the Patriarch Jacob.
5763 The Torah is a book of living, positive lessons in life. Every idea, indeed every word is filled with purpose and optimism. In fact it is possible to live with the reading of each day (each section is divided into seven portions). But this week's portion doesn't seem to contain even one happy message only tragedies.
5764 This week's Torah section is read each year in connection with Chanukah. One obvious connection is that just as Yosef, the star of our section, was victorious over the superpower Egypt so also a handful of Maccabees (thirteen according to Rashi Deut. 33:11) defeated the entire Greek army to begin the miracle of Chanukah.
5765 This week, on Friday, will be the Chassidic Holiday of the 19th of the Jewish month of Kislev And this week's Torah portion, 'VaYaishev', begins with Josef, the son of the Third Patriarch of Judaism, Jacob, relating a dream to his father.
5766 This week's section begins on a wonderful note; the story of Joseph and his brothers. Rashi (the foremost elucidator of the Torah) compares the perfunctory listing of all the kings of Esav in the end of last week's section to the exquisite detail here with two similes.
5767 This week we read the tragic saga of Yosef; one of the purest souls in the history was sold by his own brothers into slavery in the home of Potifar and from there sentenced to life in Egyptian prison for a crime he did not commit. But in both instances; in slavery and in prison, the Torah tells us that ….. Yosef succeeded!
5768 This week's Torah reading contains the strange story of the birth of the twin brothers Peretz and Zerach (38:27-30). Zerach stuck his hand out of the womb first and the midwife tied a ribbon around it but suddenly Peretz popped out ahead of him. At first glance perhaps this story shouldn't have been included in the Torah.
5769 This week we read an interesting story of how Yosef, the favorite of Jacob's children, was hated by his brothers and fanned that hatred by interpreting two dreams to mean that everyone would bow down to him. The Torah tells us "His brothers hated him but his father waited to see what would happen" (37:11)
5770 This week we learn the story of the terrible sufferings of Yosef. First his own brothers threw him into a pit of scorpions and snakes, then sold him into slavery after which he got imprisoned for life due to the treachery of Potifar's wife.
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