HAVE A HAPPY CHANUKAH
PARSHA ON PARADE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY
OF MY DEAR FATHER AND REBBI:
HARAV HAGAON RAV YESHAYA SHIMANOWITZ Z'TZL ,
YESHIVAS RABAINU YAAKOV YOSEF
(RABBI JACOB JOSEPH YESHIVA - RJJ)
IN NYC FOR OVER 23 YEARS.
NIFTAR ON 20 ADAR 5758 - MARCH 18, 1998.
MAY HE BE A MAYLITZ YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL.
MY DEAR MOTHER
REBITZEN BRACHA ETEL SHIMANOWITZ A'H
WHO DEVOTED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO MY FATHER AND HIS TORAH,
NIFTERA ON 21 TEVET 5770 - WED EVE. JANUARY 6, 2010.
MAY SHE BE A MAYLITZA YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL
Menachim Z. Shimanowitz
You too can dedicate a
Parsha or any other section of Torah Tots in honor or
in memory of someone close to you.
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NO MITZVOT IN THIS PARSHA
NUMBER OF PESUKIM (SENTENCES): 112
NUMBER OF WORDS: 1558
NUMBER OF LETTERS: 5972
Vayeishev is read on the Shabbat before Chanukah when Rosh HaShanah was not on Shabbat. (On rare occasions, it is Shabbat Chanukah, and not Mikeitz. When Chanukah starts on Shabbat, both Vayeishev & Mikeitz are read on Chanukah.)
HAFTORA: (Additional portion, from Prophets, which is read after the Parsha)
Amos 2:6 - 3:8
Chanukah starts after sundown, Tuesday, December 12 (after nightfall), and lasts for eight days thru Wednesday, December 20.
| פרשת וישב
In our last episode Yaakov and his family made it back to Canaan
where Yaakov first faced off with a Malach (angel) and
then with Esav. The Malach and Yaakov wrestled until dawn
when the Malach was forced to cry "uncle" and give Yaakov
a bracha (blessing). The Malach renamed Yaakov
'Yisroel' meaning "fought with a Malach and won."
Esav was a different story. He came marching with 400 soldiers
and Yaakov walked away with a hug and an open invitation. Yaakov
finally made it back to his father Yitzchok's house, But by that
time, his wife Rachel had died, and his mother Rivka had passed
As our Parsha opens, the Torah tells us that of
all twelve sons, Yosef, Rachel's son, is Yaakov's favorite. That's
only one reason why the ten sons of Leah, Bilha and Zilpa don't
like Yosef much. The number one reason is that Yosef is a tattle-tale!
You've got to understand that all ten brothers are tzadikim
(righteous people). But tzadikim are judged more harshly
than others, and Yosef has a bad habit of playing both judge and
jury. He waits in the bushes for his brothers to make a slip, and
then, instead of gently correcting them, he runs to his father and
tattles on them.
The brothers turn into a bunch of nervous wrecks! After all,
look how Avrohom kicked Yishmael out of the house for Yitzchok's
sake. Everyone knows that Yosef is the first-born of Rachel, the
favorite wife. Maybe Yaakov will kick them out too. It doesn't
help when Yaakov makes Yosef a real keen long-sleeved silk coat
of many colors. Now Yosef struts around in his new duds advertising
that he's the favorite.
One night Yosef dreams that he and his brothers are tying up
stalks of grain in the field. Yosef's bundle rises up in the air.
Then the brothers' bundles all bow down to Yosef's bundle. The next
day Yosef runs out to tell his brothers all about it. This really
curls their toes. They know what Yosef is thinking and they hate
him for acting so superior to them.
But Yosef's immaturity and their jealousy doesn't discount the
dream. It would come true. There are just a couple of details
that need to unravel. Yes, his brothers will bow down to him,
but they won't know it is him. They'll think it is an Egyptian
Viceroy receiving the honor. And what about the stalks of grain?
Little do they know that there will be a terrible famine that
will force them to go to Egypt to buy grain.
Soon after, Yosef has another dream. In this one, Yosef is
a star in the sky. Eleven smaller stars, the sun and the moon
surround him and bow to him. Yosef has got to tell his brothers
about this one! He's so excited, he doesn't even wait for his
brothers to be alone. He announces his dream at the dinner table
while Yaakov listens in. Yaakov is a smart man. He knows how this
all looks to his other sons. They are going to hate Yosef for
making them look inferior before Yaakov. So he tells Yosef that
the dream is just a ridiculous illusion, especially since the
moon represents Rachel, and Rachel is dead. But secretly Yaakov
waits to see how this prophecy pans out.
| One day Yaakov asks
Yosef to travel out to the fields of Shechem where the brothers
are tending the family sheep. Yaakov is worried about their safety
because, after all, Shimon and Levi did massacre the entire town.
Yosef heads out to Shechem but by the time he gets there they are
gone. A Malach (Gavriel), in Sheik's clothing, informs
Yosef that his brothers have gone off to an area called Dasan.
When Yosef finally catches up with them, the brothers decide
to do some catching up of their own - catching up on punishing
Yosef for acting so high and mighty. They decide they'd better
do away with him before he does away with them. Of course, Shimon
and Levi vote to kill Yosef and then claim he was torn apart by
But Reuven, the oldest brother, keeps a cool head. "He's just
a foolish kid," Reuven exclaims. "Let's throw him in a snake pit
instead, and if Hashem wants Yosef to die, that's Hashem's
business." They all agree to Reuven's plan and lower him down
the hole. Now, Reuven secretly figures on rescuing Yosef after
nightfall. Once out of the pit, Reuven will bring him home to
Yaakov. But when Reuven leaves for a little while, the plan quickly
goes awry. An Arab caravan passes by. Yehuda has an idea. "Let's
sell Yosef to the Arabs and turn this "mighty ruler' into a slouching
slave. So they sell off Yosef for 20 pieces of silver and use
the money to buy themselves shoes.
When Reuven returns, he is shocked to see that Yosef is no longer
in the pit. Teaching him a lesson is one thing, but selling him
is a terrible tragedy. What will they tell their father, Yaakov?
Well, that's simple enough; they slaughter a goat and dip Yosef's
coat in the blood. Instantly, their father recognizes the coat
and proclaims that Yosef has been torn apart by a wild animal.
Needless to say, Yaakov is devastated! From that day on, for the
next 22 years, Yaakov sits in mourning for Yosef. The brothers
realize the terrible sin they have committed. They decide to dedicate
their lives to finding Yosef and reuniting him with their father.
| These caravans usually
carry foul-smelling kerosene and tar. But lucky for Yosef, these
Arab merchants are carrying fragrant spices. It really wasn't luck
at all. It was Hashem making sure that the tzadik
Yosef would not smell those offensive odors.
Soon enough, Yosef is traded again. Now he is in Egypt working
for Pharoh's minister Potifar. Although Yosef starts as a slave,
he quickly climbs the ladder of success and winds up as Potifar's
right hand man. Now he is in charge of the entire household. Why,
Yosef isn't even treated as a slave anymore!
With Yosef in charge, Potifar becomes a real rich dude. Yosef
has Potifar divesting stocks, buying bonds, investing in the Egyptian
slave market and profiting like never before! Just when Yosef
starts to have too good a time, Hashem steps up the pressure.
After all, while Yosef is living the good life, Yaakov is sitting
shiva (mourning) back in Canaan. Hashem decides
it is time to test Yosef to see if he will remain a tzadik
with all this newfound success in Egypt. Here's the thing; Yosef
is a great tzadik, but at age 17 he is also a teenager.
As it turns out, Yosef has a youthful flaw; he loves brushing
his long hair. Well, if Yosef is so concerned about his looks,
the test will involve beauty. Hashem sends Potifar's
wife after Yosef. She tries to get him to notice her. But he resists
her whims. Finally she gets so frustrated that she has her husband
throw him in jail.
| Even in jail Yosef
is able to rise to the top. Since the jailers can trust him, they
give him lots of freedom. Eventually, they make him a supervisor.
Yosef remains in the prison for ten years. At the height of Yosef's
prison career, two new prisoners join the dungeon crew; The king's
number one butler and the number one baker. The butler is in the
pen because Pharoh found a fly in his drink. The baker is here because
Pharoh found a stone in his bread.
One morning the butler and the baker wake up very disturbed
- they each have had a dream that has left them puzzled. Luckily
Yosef is an expert at dreaming. He convinces these guys to tell
him their dreams and, with Hashem's help, he will interpret
Here's the butler's dream: There are three grape vines. He
holds Pharoh's cup beneath them and squeezes juice from the grapes.
Then he hands the cup to Pharoh. Pretty standard dream. This butler
lives the "exciting" life of handing drinks to Pharoh every day.
So why shouldn't he dream about it too? But this dream is very
significant. According to Yosef, The butler's luck is about to
change. In three days, Pharoh will change his mind and let bygones
be bygones. The butler will be back in business!
The baker's dream is a different story. He dreams that he's carrying
three baskets on his head. The top basket contains Pharoh's bread.
A bunch of birds come swooping down and eat the bread in the top
basket. The baker's dream tells Yosef one thing for sure: The
baker's bread is baked! In three days the baker will be hanged.
Sure enough, three days later Pharoh has a birthday bash. He
frees the butler and hangs the baker just like Yosef said. Yosef
catches the butler on his way out. "Please tell Pharoh that I
have been sitting in jail wrongly accused for the past ten years".
The butler agrees, but Hashem doesn't. It is not yet
time for the dreamer to go free.
Tune in next week when Hashem decides that the time
is right for Yosef's dreams to come true in the next exciting
the Midrash Maven on Vayeshev
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