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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Vayeishev

Less Fire, More Light – Lighting Hanukkah Candles Without Burning Your House Down

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 7, 2017

The story of Yosef and his brothers has, on the face of it, nothing to do with Hanukkah. But as it is often read right around Hanukkah time, it is not surprising that attempts have been made to find connections to Hanukkah.…

Who Sold Joseph and Why it Matters

by Rabbi Dr. Avi Walfish Posted on October 26, 2016

Women Navigating a Man’s World

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 3, 2015

The story of Yehuda and Tamar is often understood to be Yehuda’s story, but it is also Tamar’s story. It is the story not of a leader or a person in a position of power, but of someone without power and without a voice.…

A Tikkun for Yaakov

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 10, 2014

Three of Yaakov’s sons play a major role in the stories of Yosef and his brothers: Yosef, Reuven, and Yehudah.  Each one of these presents a type of a tikkunfor Yaakov.  It starts with Yosef. “These are the generations of Yaakov: Yosef.” This is the Midrash’s reading of Breishit, 37:2, a verse that in its simple sense narrates the events that occurred to Yaakov’s children.…

A Tikkun for Rivka

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 7, 2012

Immediately after Yosef is sold to the Midianites, the Torah interrupts the main Yosef narrative to tell us the story of Yehuda and Tamar.  This story is often understood to be Yehuda’s story, and could be entitled “The Moral Education of Yehuda.”  Yehuda was a person with true leadership potential. …

To See and to Acknowledge

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 16, 2011

Yosef’s brothers, not content with the treachery of throwing him in the pit and then selling him to the Ishmaelites, proceed to engage in a cover-up.   Using the very cloak that was the target of their jealousy, they dip it in the blood of a kid goat, and send it to their father:  “And they said, ‘This we found. …

Yaakov, Striving and the Miracle of Chanukah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 11, 2009

In parshat Veyeishev, Yaakov, having finally endured the hardship and travails in the house of Lavan, and having finally returned to his homeland, the land of Canaan, and having reconciled with his brother Esav who (implicitly) agreed to relinquish his claim to the land, is now able to finally settle in the land of his fathers and to put all his troubles behind him: “And Yaakov settled in the land of his father’s sojournings, in the land of Canaan.” However, as soon as this point is reached, the narrative turns to Yosef and his brothers, and Yaakov completely fades into the background: “These are the generations of Yaakov – Yosef was seventeen years…” Perhaps responding to this shift in the narrative, Chazal – as Rashi reminds us – comment on the first pasuk, “Vayeshev Yaakov – bikesh Yaakov lashevet bishalva” – Yaakov wanted to dwell in tranquility, but God would not allow it because “there is enough tranquility for the righteous in the World-to-Come.” What is the meaning of this midrash?…