Thursday, December 09, 2004

Yosef

I have never been a huge fan of Yosef, I am not sure why. I decided to add up attributes and (percieved) shortcomings and see if there is any basis for this view. Based on peshat, his attributes are: kept his identity as an Ivri, did not succumb to Potiphar's wife seduction, kept his faith while in prison, kept his faith as a successful vice-potentate, forgave his brothers(after running them through some hoops), helped the mishpacha settle in Eygpt, raised two sons in a foreign culture that were true to their heritage, even though mom was not ffb, helped care for his father and arranged his burial. The negatives mostly appear early on: tattled on the brothers, told them about the dreams(insensitive?), allowed himself to get special attention and (maybe) flaunted it(he was wearing his special coat when he went to see the brothers), put the brothers through hoops when they met again, did not contact his father on his own.

All in all, it seems Yosef's main attribute is that he was steadfast in his emunah, not only when faced with deprivation, but more importantly(especially for those of us in the goldina medine) when he was rich and successful, and he was able to pass that on to his children. I think I concentrated more on the telling tales and what seemed to be rubbing the brothers' face in his dreams and choseness. It seems he matured greatly when faced with tribulation, again, something to emulate. We were going over the Gemara in Shabbat that deals with Hannukah, and how the explaination of habor raik, ain bo mayim seems out of place there(except as another piece of info by the same amora), and started talking about the connections that are made between Yosef and Hannukah. I guess this is another one, faith in the presence not only of adversity but also opulence.

btw, a friend pointed out to me the many similarities of language between the story of the Akeidah and the story of Yosef, when he goes out to meet the brothers. There are many phrases and usages that are identical. I have to think about the implications. Comments always appreciated.

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