What's Pshat?

Home » Posts tagged 'Joseph'

Tag Archives: Joseph

Father Favors (Vayigash)

Preview: Why were the kohanim granted special exemptions from Yosef’s redistribution regime? Might it be because his own father-in-law was a kohen? And might the parallels between Yosef’s role dispensing bread rations as viceroy, and his earlier experience serving in Potiphar’s house, also be relevant in this regard?

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Going Against the Grain (Tzom Gedaliah)

Preview: Ever notice that Gedaliah seems to have been obsessed with issues related to the “harvest?” Why is that? And why, for that matter, do we find “harvest” themes playing such an important role in the prophecies of sefer Yirmiyahu – where Gedaliah’s story is recorded – and in megillat Eichah, which Yirmiyahu wrote? And, while we’re at it: why did the exile which Yirmiyahu bemoaned last “seventy years?” Might these seventy years be related to the seven-year agricultural cycle known as “shemittah?”And might that cycle, in turn, have its roots in the seven-year agricultural cycle over which Yosef presided, back in Egypt?

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

The Seven Year Plan (Re’eh)

Preview: Why does the Torah, in this week’s parshah, legislate the seven-year agricultural cycle known as “shemittah?” Might it have anything to do with an earlier such cycle: the seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine, over which Yosef presided as viceroy of Egypt?

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Gotta Hand it To Him (Vaetchanan)

Preview: Premeditated murder incurs greater guilt than “accidental” murder. That’s the argument underlying the Biblical institution of the “cities of refuge.” It’s also the argument which Reuven advances when trying to rescue Yosef from the hands of his brothers. Coincidence? Probably not, because this is far from the only detail about the refuge cities which evoke the sale of Yosef.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Forget Me Not (Mattot)

Preview: The name “Machir ben Menasheh” translates loosely to something along the lines of “man-of-identity, son of man-of-forgetting.” Those in his grandfather’s generation became estranged from one another because they were lo makir, and, indeed, were mitnaker. So Machir, and his descendants after him, are the ones tasked with being makir – with re-establishing the family identity that was nearly abandoned under the strain of infighting and exile. That background helps explain the various stories told about this family, and suggests that Machir’s story may be a lot more significant than we tend to realize…

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

It’s the Pits (Channukah)

Preview: An often-forgotten fact about Channukah: it came this close to ending as Tisha B’Av. Both occur against a backdrop of sinat chinam. The origins of such sinat chinam trace back to Yosef and his brothers, whom we read about during Channukah. And Yosef’s experience is heavily alluded to in Mizmor Shir Channukat Habayit – the psalm David authored upon first dedicating the Beit Hamikdash, and the psalm we recite on Channukah as we celebrate its re-dedication.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Dream Bigger (Vayeshev)

Preview: A theory: Yosef’s dreams weren’t about his brothers – they were about the eleven chieftains of Esav, listed immediately prior to his dreams. In fact, near every detail of his dream fits into this line of interpretation.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Are We There Yet? (Bo)

Preview: There’s a curious focus on the packing of “provisions” (צדה) that we find when b’nei Yisrael travel between Egypt and Canaan in Yosef’s days; and again, on the eve of the exodus in the book of Shemot; and again during their entry into the land in the days of Yehoshua. What’s its significance, and how is it related to the concept of “tarrying” (להתמהמה) – another concept that crops up a lot in these contexts?

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Waterless Pits (Vayeshev)

Preview: On the theory, noticed by others, that the Korban Pesach recalls the sale of Yosef – and how Zechariah may have alluded to this.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

The Gift of Life (Mikketz)

Preview: Rikvah: “If my son marries those women I might as well die.” Rachel: “If you do not give me children I will die.” Yaakov: “If one of us stole your gods, that person shall die.” Reuven: “If I do not return with Benjamin, you can kill my sons.” The brothers: “If one of us stole your goblet, he shall be killed.” Notice a trend?

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us