Parashat Vayeshev

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Provided by the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, exploring Torah through the original sources.

1. How old was Joseph when he went out to check on his brothers?

2. Why did Jacob love Joseph more than all his brothers?

3. Why does that seem odd?

4. Describe Joseph's two dreams.

5. When Jacob chastises Joseph, what does he say, and why does it seem odd?

6. Joseph set out from where to find his brothers? Along the way, he met a man who told him they were headed where?

7. When the brothers decided to kill Joseph, which brother first spoke against killing him? Who was second?

8. The brothers decided to sell Joseph to whom? Were they successful?

9. Judah's two sons were killed by God. He wanted his daughter-in-law to wait for his third son to grow up and marry him. What were all their names?

10. Why did Tamar seduce Judah in the guise of a harlot?

11. What three items did Tamar ask of Judah as a pledge?

12. While Joseph was in jail in Egypt, he interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh's butler and baker. In the end, one was restored to his former position, and one was hanged. Which was which?

Answers

1. Joseph was 17 years old (37:2).

2. Jacob liked Joseph better because "he was the son of his old age" (37:3).

3. This seems odd because Benjamin was younger than Joseph.
4. In Joseph's first dream he and his brothers were binding sheaves in the field. His sheaf rose up, and the others bowed down to it (37:7). In his second dream the sun, the moon, and eleven stars bowed down to him (37:9).

5. Jacob chastises Joseph by saying "Do you expect your mother, father, and brothers to bow down to you?" It's odd that he said this because Rachel was already dead (37:10).

6. Joseph set out from Hebron to find his brothers. On the way a man told him that his brothers were headed towards Dothan (37:14-17)

7. Reuben first spoke against killing him (37:21), then Judah spoke against killing him (37:26).

8. The brothers intended to sell him to the Ishmaelites, but the Midianites found him first and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver, so the brothers did not succeed in carrying out their plan (37:25-28).

9. Judah's son's names were Er, Onan, and Shelah (38:1-5)

10. Shelah had grown up, but Judah had not given him to her as a husband (38:11).

11. Tamar asked Judah for his signet, his cord, and his staff (38:18).

12. Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dreams and in the end the baker was hanged; the butler was restored to his former position (41:21-22).