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Coats, Dreams and Jealousy
Video 16 of 21
So the answer is right over here in Devarim, Chaf-Aleph - Deuteronomy 21, this the law of the man with children from two wives. Of course the law which we're talking about in Hebrew is the law of Pi Shnayim - I'm just going to write it in Hebrew over here. Pi Shnayim over here means the double portion, and this is the law that has to do with inheritance, the law that a Bechor - this word we had before, you can even spell it with a Vav or without a Vav - that a Bechor, a firstborn child, receives a double portion in his father's estate. I'm just going to read through this law with you and I'm just going to show you the part right over here, it's just toward the end of the section of the text. Ki et habechor ben hasenu'ah yakir latet lo pi shnayim b'chol asher yimotzeh lo. The details we'll talk about in a moment, but the basic idea is that the father has to acknowledge the right of the Bechor whether he likes it or not, to the share of the double portion. A double portion of everything that he has.
It seems that that is what Rashi is referring to over here. All the other children had one coat but no, not Joseph; Hu she'hosif lo aviv yoter al echov - he had a second coat. It seems to be this reference to this idea of Pi Shnayim. It's as if the second coat, the special coat, is Yaakov's way of suggesting that Yosef you in fact are my Bechor, my firstborn child.
Now it's possible you might say, I hear the skeptic in you saying, well I don't know. Maybe that's a little bit of a stretch. It could be that Rashi is referring to the law of a Bechor, that Joseph has a second coat over here, and also could just be a coincidence, you know? Maybe Rashi likes talking about trivia, maybe Rashi is into just mentioning things like little details about how many coats Joseph lost, for no good reason. I mean it could be, I can't disprove that, but I think I can suggest quite strongly that this is actually not a coincidence. That in fact the links between the Joseph story and Joseph's second coat and these laws over here in Deuteronomy - in Devarim, are exceedingly strong. I want to just show you how strong they are, and what I'm going to show you is actually pretty mind-blowing, so kind of fasten yourself in.
Before I show it to you though, I just want to remind you of an idea which we talked about earlier, it's an idea that I referred to - or really a methodological tool which I think the Torah uses, which I called intertextuality. We used this earlier to talk about this mystery of these Akeidah parallels, these parallels that seem to link the story of the sale of Joseph to the Binding of Isaac, which we still have to come back to explain. Right now we're going to have another quick adventure into the fascinating world of intertextuality, this idea again that the Torah is in many ways kind of the original internet, that there are these links that seem to pervade the Torah which take the central idea and there are these various different expressions of it.
The way that you see these hyperlinks kind of coming to life is that you've got these two stories and you have these various different elements in these stories, and if you just chart out the elements one by one, you start seeing these fascinating connections, [which these 3:55] other stories seems to have these echoes of these kinds of elements. We talked about this being a kind of sign, seemingly, that Story 2 is kind of commenting on Story A in all of these different kinds of ways. So you can't really understand Story 1 without Story 2. You look for words, phrases or ideas in Story 1 that seem to be echoing in Story 2, seem to establish these kinds of - these hyperlinks, these kind of connections between the two stories.
What I want to do with you in our next video is come back to this section of text which we've begun to look at, Deuteronomy 21 - Devarim Chaf-Alef, where we have this law of the man with children from two wives, which is the source in the Torah for the idea that a Bechor gets Pi Shnayim - the firstborn is entitled to a double portion of everything the father has. We theorized - so far just a theory - that perhaps we're hearing the echoes of this, at least in Rashi, in the story of Joseph, that Joseph is being stripped of not one coat but two coats, and maybe it's a reference to this Pi Shnayim. Could we sort of prove it? To prove it what I want to do is show you that if we take a very close look at this section of text, just three verses over here, we're going to find that this just opens up to us in a three-dimensional way if we are sensitive to the intertextual references in here.
So what I want to challenge you to do is go through these three sentences and ask yourself - play this game; Where Have We Heard These Words Before? When I say where have we heard these words before, I don't just mean words, I mean words on the one hand, ideas, any kind of thing which peaks your interest, which sort of seems out of place, and you say, gee I kind of heard that before. Do those connections establish any kind of pattern? Is there some other text which as you go through these three verses just seem, I don't know, I just keep on getting these sort of constant reminders of that other text? What are those reminders? What is that other text? See if you can piece together any of this and then we'll come back and talk about it.
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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