Friday, December 11, 2009

Posts so far for parshat Vayeshev


  1. Vayeshev sources -- links to an online Mikraos Gedolos, plus more than 100 meforshim on the parsha and haftorah. Thus, updated from last year.

  2. Is tzadeka mimeni one statement or two? Pashtanim arguing on midrashOnce again, midrashim vs. many pashtanim about how to explain a specific pasuk. In this instance, it is something that seems midrashic in the first place, whether tzadeka mimeni is one statement, or two separate statements. Onkelos, Targum Pseudo-Yontan, the gemara, Bereishit Rabba, and Rashi all treat it as two separate statements, either both by Yehuda, or the latter by Hashem. But many of the other meforshim explain it otherwise, as a single statement, that she is more righteous than I. And more interesting that pashtanim arguing on midrash is Ibn Caspi's point, that the derash is at odds with the trup, and that since trup is from Anshei Knesset HaGedolah and reflects Hashem's intent, we cannot argue on it.

  3. The Aramaic translation of the bad word -- Shadal on the correct girsa in Onkelos; I think perhaps a good example of lectio difficilior. The proper Aramaic translation of dibatam -- is it dibbehon or tibbehon. But nothing exceptionally innovative here.

  4. Moral lessons from parashat Vayeishev -- Some straightforward lessons about interpersonal relationships, from Ralbag. Some of which are fairly obvious when you just stop and consider the story carefully. Some of it, of course, it a matter of how one parses the Biblical narrative and associated midrashim.

  1. Vayeshev sources -- online, by aliyah and perek in Mikraos Gedolos, and by meforshim, at JNUL. And in the comment section, a discussion of Zuleika, wife of Potifar, which will soon be its own post.

  2. Two noteworthy comments about the nature of peshat, and the one of Vayeshev is the famous comment of the Rashbam.

  3. Parallels between the incident of Tamar and Amnon, and parshat Vayeshev. I note a few of them, and there is a more developed discussion in the comment section.

  4. What in the world is kesonnes passim? And how only Yosef and Tamar were tznius. Or not tznius. And then it develops from there. What does it mean that it reached pas yadav?

  5. What sort of Petil did Yehuda give Tamar as surety? And how, after Ramban rejects the idea it was tzitzis, as sacrilegious, Baal HaTurim suggests it was his tefillin. And much more.

  6. Zuleika, the wife of Potiphar, in the Koran and in Sefer HaYashar. And how I think that this particular midrash might be no more than a borrowing from the Koran.

  7. Who was in the pit? A 4-year old take on parshat Vayeshev.
  1. The appropriately named Er and Onan, and Hevel, and Machlon and Kilyan. What a choice for names!

  2. Bar Kochva as the gilgul of Shela -- from Rav Chaim Vital.

  3. Which Daughters comforted Yaakov? Did he have more than one?

  4. What did the wife of Potifar ask Yosef to do? And the danger of euphemisms in obscuring the actual intent.

  5. Why Mention that Yosef Got Lost? Dramatic tension, no witnesses, plausibility of the story that he was attacked by wild animals.

  6. The Shevatim Keeping The Torah
    and expressing willingness to perform kisui hadam. humor.

  7. Midianites as a Generic Term
    and as it relates to the sale of Yosef.
        • Reuven's Return
          • As repentance. I analyze various aspects and textual cues of this midrash, and how Rashi reinterprets or correctly understands the midrash.
        • The Chronology of Yehuda's Marriage
          • Was Yehuda's marriage subsequent to, or co-occurring with the general timespan of Yosef's sale. This is predicated on the meaning of baEt hahi.

        1. Yaakov/Yosef Parallels While in a previous post I mentioned parallels between Yosef and Esav, a midrash highlights many parallels between the lives of Yaakov and Yosef.

        2. Shortsighted Foresight People who see the future via prophecy or astrology, but misapprehend what they see.

        3. Clothes "Make" The Man Twice, Yosef's clothing serves as a mark of identity

        4. Mistaken Identities -- How many times does the theme of mistaken identity come up in Tanach?

        5. Choice Garments and Goat Bits -- Parallels between two sibling rivalries.

          1. In Chutzpah! I note that the brothers are shepherding in Shechem, which they had destroyed in the previous parsha. Although Yaakov initially feared a reaction from the neighboring towns, the pasuk (Bereishit 35:5:) tells us that the fear of God was put into the inhabitants of the towns and the hostile reaction did not surface. Here they are, initially shepherding in Shechem, perhaps even the flocks taken as spoils from Shechem, and Yosef has no fear to go to Shechem alone to see how things fare. Also, Tg Yonatan has two points about the sale of Yosef: it being preordained, and being linked to the destruction of Shechem.

          2. In Dibatam Ra'ah I discuss the word נַעַר as a verb in the second pasuk of Vayeishev, in Bereishit 37:2. The midrash gives three bad things the brothers did, or appeared to do, that Yosef reported - eating 'ever min hachai, treating the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah as servants, and secual improprieties. I show how these might be derived from the pasuk. Finally, Tg Yonatan gives on sin - that he saw them eat the ears and tails separated from the live animals. I give Perush Yonatan's explanation for this, as well as a possible derivation from the text.

          3. In Where Does the First Pasuk BelongI note the relationship between the first pasuk which says that Yaakov settled in the land of his forefathers, with a similar statement about Esav in the previous parsha. I suggest it logically belongs to the previous parsha. This may relate to the order of the narrative, such that the story of Yosef actually precedes the birth of Binyamin and thus Rachel's death. Some proofs that Binyamin is not yet born - Binyamin is not mentioned; Yosef is called the ben zekunim - son of old age; and Yaakov asks "will I and your mother bow down before you?" implying that Rachel, Yosef's mother, is still alive.

          4. In Brand Name Recognition? Or Lack Thereof? מהר"א אשכנזי, based on Islamic practice, explains Yehuda's command that Tamar be burnt is a command to brand her forhead to label her a harlot. The presence of the mark is the reason harlots would typically cover their faces, and the pasuk says that Tamar did this when pretending to be one.

          5. In A Baaaad Report I suggest that on a peshat level, rather than דִּבָּתָם רָעָה meaning an evil report, it actually means a report as to how the shepherding is going. Proofs to this effect - nowhere do we see explicitly what the bad things he reported were, nor that the brothers hated him for it. Further, it seems to set up the story such that we understand why Yaakov sends Yosef after his brothers to find out how the shepherding is going - this is his role.
            To be continued...

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