The next time we read this Torah portion is December 21, 2019
Joseph’s brothers throw him in a pit, and he goes to Egypt where things get even more complicated. Yehuda also goes off on his own messy journey, and the family saga thickens.
Vayeishev Torah Portion: Genesis 37:1–Genesis 40:23
Parshat Vayeishiv marks the beginning of the saga of Joseph and his brothers - a story that will continue until the end of the book of Genesis. The
The animosity between the brothers simmers until one day, Jacob sends Joseph out to check on his brothers, and they plot to kill him. After a short debate, they decide to throw him into a pit instead and soon after Joseph is taken out and sold down to Egypt as a slave. The brothers devise a plan to convince Jacob that Joseph was eaten by a wild animal, and Jacob enters a
We then hear about the tragic story of Yehuda’s family. Yehuda has three sons – Er, Onan and Shela. Er marries a woman named Tamar, and he ends being “evil in God’s eyes,” so God kills him. In accordance with the custom of levirate marriage, Tamar marries Er’s brother Onan. But Onan refuses to bear a child with her to carry out his brother’s legacy, and God kills him too. Yehudah tells Tamar to wait on marrying his third son
As time goes on, Yehuda’s wife dies and he decides to hit the road, leaving Tamar without a husband. She dresses up as a harlot and meets him on the way. Unaware of her true identity, Yehuda impregnates her and continues on his journey. When he hears
The Torah then brings our attention back to Joseph, who is now working for Potiphar, an employee of Pharaoh. Potiphar notices that Joseph seems to be blessed by God and brings success to his household, and he
While in prison, God continues to bless Joseph, and the prison chief puts him in charge of the other prisoners. Eventually, Joseph is joined in his prison cell by Pharaoh’s butler and baker. One night, the two of them have confusing dreams, and Joseph offers interpretations for them. He predicts that in three days time the butler will be returned to his position, and Joseph asks him to request that Pharaoh release him from prison too. Joseph then tells the baker this in three days he will be executed. Both of Joseph’s predictions come true, but the drink-pourer forgets all about him, and Joseph remains in the prison cell.