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“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)

The summary of the entire Torah is as simple as this:
Love what HaShem loves; hate what HaShem hates. All else is commentary.

Please read the Introductory Notes to this commentary.

WARNING: The text used for my commentary is my own paraphrase and must not be
considered “a translation” or authorative in any way. It is, in fact, simply my commentary.

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Additional data from
Source of Dates Used

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית • B'resheet
(“In Beginning” or “At First”)
The First Book of Moses,
Commonly Called


פָּרָשָׁה ווַיֵּשֶׁב

Parashah 9: VaYeshev
“He continued living”
B’resheet 37:1–40:23

Jewish Man Reading Torah Scroll

This week's commentary from First Fruits of Zion (Messianic)
This week's commentary from (Rabbinical)
This week’s commentary from (Christian)

This Week’s Reading Schedule
  Review and meditate
  on last week’s Parashah

  Rishon [1st]: 37:1-11
  Sheni [2nd]: 37:12-22

  Shlishi [3rd]: 37:23-36
  R'vi'i [4th]: 38:1-30

  Chamishi [5th]: 39:1-6
  Shishi [6th]: 39:7-23
  Shvi'i [7th]: 40:1-19
  Maftir [Concluding]: 40:20-23

  Haftarah: (Selections)
     'Amos (Amos) 2:6-3:8

  Ketuvei HaShalichim
  (Apostolic Writings)
    Basar: The Gospel
      Matt 1:18-25

    Kepherim: Letters (optional)
      Acts 7:9–16 (specifically vv. 9–10)


The Blessing of the Torah

Click here to listen to this canted by
Cantor Kenneth B. Cohen
of Temple Sholom, Greenwich, CT.
Aliya: (the one who “goes up” to read)  
   Bar-khu et Adonai ham-vor-ack.
   (Praise ADONAI Who is worthy to be praised.)
   Ba-rookh Adonai ham-vor-ack ley-oh-lam

   (Praise ADONAI Who is worthy to be praised for
     all eternity.)
   Ba-rookh Adonai ham-vor-ack ley-oh-lam

   (Praise ADONAI Who is worthy to be praised for
     all eternity.)
Ba-rookh ah-tah Adonai, Eh-lo-hay-noo
meh-lekh hah oh-lahm,
ah-sher ba-char ba-noo me-kol ha-ah­meem,
v’na-tahn lah-noo et torah-toe,
ba-rookh ah-tah Adonai, no-tane hah-torah.

Blessed are You, O Lord our God,
King of the Universe,
Who has chosen us from all peoples
and given us His Torah.
Blessed are You, O Lord, Giver of the Torah.

~ 37 ~
Listen to VaYeshev read from the CJB

IX.Parashah 9: Vayeshev (“He continued living”) 37:1–40:23

A. Joseph’s Dreams (37:1⁠–⁠11) [1699 BCE]

(i) 1Ya'akov continued living in the land where his father had lived as a stranger, the land of Kena'an.

2This is the history of Ya'akov. When Yosef was seventeen years old he was tending the flock with his brothers, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. He brought their father a bad report about them. 3Now Israel[3a] loved Yosef more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age,[3b] and he made him a long-sleeved tunic.[3c] 4When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and couldn’t even speak peaceably[4] to him.

5Then Yosef had a dream. When he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. 6He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had! 7Hinneh[GN], we were binding sheaves of grain in the field. Hinneh, suddenly my sheaf stood up and, hinneh, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf!”[7]

8“Are you actually going to reign over us?” his brothers asked him,  “Are you actually gong to rule over us?” They hated him all the more for his dreams and for his boasting. 9Then Yosef had another dream, and told it to his brothers. “Hinneh,” he said, “I have had another dream, and hinneh, this time the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10He told it to his father and brothers, but his father rebuked him. “What is this dream that you have had?” he said. “Are your mother, your brothers, and I all going to come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11His brothers envied him, but his father kept this saying in mind.


B. Joseph Sold into Egypt (37:12⁠–⁠36) [1699 BCE]

(ii) 12Some time later, his brothers had gone to pasture their father’s flocks near Shechem. [MAP] 13Israel said to Yosef, “Your brothers, you know, and pasturing the flocks near Shechem. Get ready; I’m sending you to them.”

Yosef answered, “I’m ready.”[13]

14Then Isra'el told him, “Go see how your brothers and the flock are doing, and let me know.” So he sent him off out of the valley of Hebron, [MAP] and he went to Shechem. [MAP] 15A man found him wandering in the field there, and asked him, “What are you looking for?”

16He said, “I am looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are pasturing their flocks?”

17“They have moved on from here,” the man answered. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’” [MAP]

So Yosef set out after his brothers and found them at Dothan.[17] 18Yosef’s brothers saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. 19“Look, here comes that dreamer!” they said to one another. 20Come on, let’s kill him, and throw him into one of the pits. We’ll say, ‘A wild animal ate him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams.”

21When Re’uven heard it, he tried to save him. He said, “Let’s not take his life.” 22Re’uven said to them, “Don’t shed blood. Throw him into this pit in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him” — in order to rescue him from their hands and return him to his father.


(iii) 23When Yosef came to his brothers, they stripped him of his tunic, the tunic with long sleeves that was on him; 24and they took him, and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty, with no water in it.

25Then they sat down to eat a meal. They looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites that was coming from Gilead. [MAP] Their their camels were bearing spices, balm, and myrrh, on their way down to Egypt. 26Y’hudah said to his brothers, “What will it profit us to kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites, and not lay a hand be on him; for he is our brother, our own flesh.” His brothers agreed. 28When some Midianite[28a] traders passed by, they hauled Yosef up out of the pit, and sold him for twenty shekels of silver[28b] to the Ishmaelites, who took him into Egypt.

29When Re'uven returned to the pit and saw that Yosef wasn’t there, he tore his clothes.[29] 30He returned to his brothers, and said, “The boy is gone! What am I going to do?” 31Then they took Yosef’s tunic, killed a young goat, and dipped the tunic in its blood. 32They took the long-sleeved tunic to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it; is it your son’s tunic or not?”

33His father recognized it and said, “It is my son’s tunic. A wild animal has eaten him. Yosef has surely been torn to pieces.” 34Ya'akov tore his clothes, and put sackcloth[34] around his waist, and mourned for his son for many days. 35All his sons and all his daughters tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will go down to Sheol[GN] to my son, mourning.”[35] His father wept for him. 36Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Yosef in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, the captain of the guard.


Chapter 38

3a. It’s interesting how the Scriptures alternate between his two names, Ya'akov and Isra'el. Some teach that when he is acting righteously he is Isra'el and when he is acting unrightouesly he is Ya'akov. I'm not sure I go along with that idea. [BACK]

3b. Displays of favoritism in a family never bode well. [BACK]

3c. Although most translations say “coat of many colors,” the Hebrew text says פַּסִּֽים כְּתֹ֥נֶת: kəṯōneṯ, a tunic or under-garment, a long shirt-like garment usually of linen, passîm flat (of the hand or foot), palm, sole; a tunic reaching to palms and soles. This was a symbol that Yosef had been selected as his father’s heir (first-born) in preference to the biological first-born. It was a high privilege and gave him authority over all his siblings. The long sleeves were practical, and indicated that he wouldn’t have to get his hands dirty working. [BACK]

 4. Peaceably: Hebrew לְשָׁלֹֽם (lə·šā·lōm), with shalom. Shalom (שָׁלוֹם) translates as “peace” but is so much more; it indicates completeness, soundness, welfare, everything that one could possibly want or need to be totally satisfied. [BACK]

 7. His use of the word hinneh three times sounds to me like a spoiled little boy rubbing his brothers’ noses in the fact that he had authority over them. His brothers’s reaction seems to agree. [BACK]

yosef looking for his brothers

13. Hebrew הִנֵּֽנִי (hin·nê·nî), see me, usually translated “here I am”; see hinneh. [BACK]

17. Look at the map and notice how far Yosef went lookinig for his brothers. Hebron is about 20 miles south of Jerusalem and about 20 miles north of Beersheba. Shechem is about 34 miles north of Jerusalem and 7 miles southeast of Samaria. Dothanis about 12 miles north of Samaria. [BACK]

28a. The term is descriptive, and not genealogical. Midian, like Ishmael, was a son of Abraham (Genesis 25:2). Thus, these Ishmaelites were from the territory of Midian. [MAP] [BACK]

28b. Twenty shekels of silver were computed (Leviticus 27:5) as the average worth of a male slave under twenty. [BACK]

29, 34. A token of his mingled grief and horror at the discovery (cf. Gen 44:13; 2Sam 13:31; 2Kings 18:37; Job 1:20). [BACK]

34. For “sackcloth” in mourning, see 1 Kings 21:27; 2 Kings 6:30. For further discussion see HERE. [BACK]

35. A similar modern expression might be “I’ll go to my grave,” or “I’ll take this to my grave.” [BACK]

Other commentaries on Genesis 37
Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Pulpit Commentary
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Page originally posted on Friday, 17 September 2021

Page last updated on Monday, 02 October 2023 12:52 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

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