Parashat Vayeishev 5784

December 4, 2023

Cantor Robin Anne Joseph (’96)

“A dream can follow you, it will not be denied,
Dreams can haunt your life until you them guide.”

~ from “Follow Your Dreams: Joseph’s Song” by Robin Anne Joseph

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Parashat Vayeishev 5783

December 12, 2022

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah A D’var Torah for Parashat Vayeishev By Rabbi Greg Schindler (’09) Dedicated to the memory of my dear wife Barucha Esther bat Daniel v’Rachel (z”l) Dream On Dream on/ Dream on / Dream on Dream until your dreams come true – Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) Did you ever have a dream that came true? The Talmud tells us that a dream is one-sixtieth of prophecy. (Berakhot 57b) But the trouble with dreams is, they require interpretation. Rav Hisda said, “A dream not interpreted is like a letter not read.” (Berakhot 55a) Dream interpretation is made especially difficult by the “red herrings” in dreams: “Just as it is impossible for the grain to grow without straw, so it is impossible to dream without idle matters.” (ibid.) Moreover, the Sages claim that the actualization of a dream depends on its interpretation: “Rabbi Bena’a once told his dream to 24 dream interpreters. Although each...

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Parashat Vayeishev 5782

November 26, 2021

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah A D’var Torah for Parashat Vayeishev By Rabbi Ariann Weitzman (’11) The story of Tamar is sandwiched between two momentous scenes in the Joseph saga: The first scene: Joseph dreams some dreams, whose interpretation infuriates his jealous brothers, who sell him to Egyptian slavers. The second scene: Joseph lands in the house of Potiphar, where he is harassed by Potiphar’s wife, resists her advances, and is then thrown into jail based on her lies. In jail, he interprets dreams of Pharaoh’s servants. In the middle we have Tamar. Around the time that Joseph is sold into slavery, Judah, Jacob’s fourth son, has settled himself as a shepherd of his own flocks in Canaan. He has three sons, and marries off his first son, Er, to a local woman named Tamar. Er displeases God for some reason, so he dies. According to the...

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Parashat VaYeishev 5781

December 11, 2020

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah   Which Hanukkah Story? A D’var Torah for Parashat VaYeishev By Rabbi Jeffrey Segelman Most of us know that there are two Hanukkah stories. The first is the one that appears in the Talmud (Shabbat 21b). This is the one we learned as children. In short, the Greeks sought to force all the Jews to abandon Judaism and adopt Greek religious culture. A small band of Jews, led by Mattityahu HaCohein and his sons, rebelled and courageously fought back against the Greek armies. Upon their success, they entered the Temple that the Greeks had defiled. They cleaned the building and rebuilt the altar and as they were preparing to rededicate the Temple, they found that they had but one day’s worth of pure olive oil to light the menorah. They lit what they had and behold, God brought a miracle and the oil lasted not one day,...

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Parashat Vayeishev 5780

December 19, 2019

Thomas Mann’s Portrayal of Tamar—A Self-Reflection? A D’var Torah for Parashat Vayeshev By Rabbi Len Levin I first encountered Thomas Mann’s portrayal of the biblical heroine Tamar (from Joseph and His Brothers, pp. 1016–42) as a high school student; it was assigned reading in our Jewish day school. I have never been able to see her otherwise since. Thomas Mann was arguably the greatest German writer of his age. He worked on his massive fictional rendition of the Joseph saga from 1924 to 1942, years of turbulence and tragedy for Germany and Jewry. He modeled his portrayal of Rachel on his wife Katia, who came from an assimilated German Jewish family. Seeking a leading female character for the fourth part of his tetralogy, he chose Tamar, daughter-in-law of Judah who became the progenitress of the two leading clans of the Judah tribe, Peretz and Zerah, and ancestress of the Davidic...

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