In this week’s Torah cycle, we study parshat Miketz, the story of Joseph from the book of Genesis.
These narratives, and the character of our spiritual ancestors, often go beyond relaying generational lessons of morality and perseverance.
With time (sometimes), we learn to care about the individuals portrayed in Torah. We begin to ‘know’ them and to see ourselves in who they are. By spending time with them, we learn about ourselves in ways that are profound.
The character of Joseph begins as a ‘know it all’ teen-ager who is somewhat of a brat.
He is hated by his brothers because he is his parents’ favorite and treated as such.
Keeping it a secret from their father (Jacob), his brothers betray him to a fate worse than death.
From pit to pit to pit, Joseph is thrown into a hole, sold into slavery, and finally tossed into prison.
Yet at each segway, through strength of character (and perhaps superb executive functioning) he is recognized and rewarded with a certain amount of freedom and power.
Our sages ask, “Why, when Joseph had the ability to let his father know he was alive, did he not?”
For Jacob, Joseph’s father, was inconsolable in his mourning a son that he thought was dead.
Through careful readings of the time-line, new insights have recently emerged about this age-old story; the love between a father and his son, the depths of human emotion that can ripple the individual psyches, and the family units that hold them.
I look forward to sharing these with you at Shabbat services tomorrow night as we sing and pray, connecting through our timeless rituals with one another.
Please join us.
Happy (last night) of Hanukkah, and Shabbat shalom!