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Coats, Dreams and Jealousy
Video 3 of 21
So you have really two possible choices. Choice number one actually, is you could just dismiss it all as foolish, and you could just laugh it off and who cares, and not even bother with anything. That’s one possibility. But the other possibility is you could be upset with the implications. Well that’s what happens. But if I am upset, what does that suggest? It suggests that I am taking this seriously. If I am taking this seriously, you see before, when the brothers have these dreams, and it was just talking about it with the brothers and the father is not involved, at that point, the brothers hate Joseph; they hate him but they are not necessarily jealous. When do you become jealous? You become jealous when you think that there might be something going on, when seriously, when “oh my gosh! There might be something going on”, when father ratifies this, almost unwittingly by his behavior, by becoming upset with what happens and chastising Joseph, then all of a sudden “oh, dad really thinks this is for real”; all of a sudden the brothers are jealous, not just hatred, but they are jealous of him. There might be something actually going on to be jealous about. Vayekanu-bo echav
Now, what was the father’s response to all of this? The father’s response has an interesting double edge quality to it. Aviv shamar et-hadavar– “His father kept watch over the thing”, he kept it in mind. The commentators, almost universally, Rashi and others, suggest that this means that, in Rashi’s words, haya mamtin umetzapeh matai yavo– “Jacob took note of it and anticipated the thing happening”; anticipated the moment when it would happen. Why? Because of course, Jacob favors Joseph, so Jacob privately waits for it to happen, he wants it to happen. But the strange thing though is that Jacob also chastises him. Vayigar-bo aviv – Jacob expresses anger at Joseph. “What are you doing? What is this dream that you’ve dreamt? Is it really going to happen?” How do you understand this? These two things are in kind of contention to each other? Which is it? Is he happy about this? Is he anticipating it? Does he hope it is going to happen? Or is he unhappy? Is he angry? Is he chastising?
So there is one possible solution to this, it could just be that the anger is for show, and Rashi kind of suggests that this might be the case; may be that the anger is just for show, that he is not really angry, but he is just trying to reassure the brothers. So father expresses this anger but really deep down he hopes it all happens. But I want to at least consider the other possibility, just the plain meaning of the text which is that the anger is real; this is real, and the anticipation is real, both of these things are real. Which leads to an interesting, if it’s true, kind of double edge in Jacob’s reaction. On the one hand he wants it to happen, on the other hand he is angry. So how does those two go together? Why is he angry in one sense, and waiting for it to happen in another sense? I want to come back with that with you and I want you to think about that. How would you understand the double edged part of Jacob’s reaction? What is there to be angry about? What is there to be happy about? If you’re angry, how could you be happy? If you’re happy, how could you be angry? How could those things live together? Think about that and we’re going to come back to them in a little bit.
1. What Were They Thinking?
2. Building Tensions
3. From Hatred to Jealousy
4. What Was Jacob Thinking?
5. A Break From the Action
6. The Original Internet
7. The Hidden Hyperlinks
8. A Confluence of Echoes
9. Where Have I Heard This Before?
10. The Brothers' Perspective
11. When Three Are One
12. Will the Real Firstborn Please Stand Up?
13. Bechor: A Tale of Twos
14. Rabbi Soloveitchik's Theory
15. Joseph's Undershirt
16. The Meaning of the Second Coat
17. Four Links
18. Double Entendre
19. The Riddle of the Bowing Moon
20. The Hidden Angel
21. Chain of Words
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