WEEKLY SCRIPTURE READING
Torah Portion: Parashat Vayeshev (“and he dwelt”)
Shabbat: Dec. 17, 2022 / Kislev 23, 5783
Torah: Gen. 37:1-40:23
Prophets: Amos 2:6-3:8
New Covenant: Matt. 1:1-6;16-25; John 10:22-30
TODAY’S PRAYER OF AGREEMENT
The Our Father
“In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you”.
As a child, Joseph was adorned with a "coat of many colors" and lived in the glory of his father's house as the favored son. He was an innocent dreamer who was given visions of greatness by God Himself. Despite being despised and rejected by his brothers, however, his father commissioned him "from the depth of Hebron" (מֵעֵמֶק חֶבְרוֹן) to look into their welfare (Gen. 37:14). Notice that the word Hebron (חֶבְרוֹן) comes from a root that means "union" or "fellowship," suggesting that Jacob sent out his beloved son "from the depth their fellowship" to search for his missing children.... Joseph willingly accepted his father's mission and set out for Shechem, where he wandered about in search of his brothers. There he met "a certain man" (thought to have been an angel) who asked him, "What do you seek?" Joseph answered, "I am seeking my brothers" (37:15-17). The sages note that Joseph was seeking the brotherhood of his brothers, for without it life was not worth living. The angel then told Joseph that the brothers had "journeyed away" (נָסְעוּ מִזֶּה) and left for "Dothan" (דּתָן), which the midrash says was "code" for a sense of religious self-righteousness (i.e., דָּת). In other words, when the brothers had earlier said, "Let us go to Dothan," they began seeking how they might justify killing Joseph. Rashi states that the angel was in effect warning Joseph of their true intent. Joseph, however, was undeterred by the hatred of his brothers and pressed on with his search... Joseph willingly left the holiness and purity of Jacob's home for the sake of his brothers, yet it was this very commitment that led to his betrayal and his descent into the depravity and suffering of Egypt. In obedience to his father, he risked everything for the sake of restoring his brothers' love. Prophetically, the "certain man" who first questioned Joseph gave him the "key" to his survival in Egypt. By constantly asking "What do you seek?" Joseph's heart would remain focused in its search. Despite all his suffering along the way, Joseph kept faith that his dream of a greater good would one day be fulfilled... Similarly, Yeshua existed in celestial glory with His Father yet willingly chose to divest himself of his splendor to reach out to his brothers. His incarnation was an infinite descent from the "depth of Hebron" (i.e., communion with the Father) into the realm of "no reputation" (i.e., kenosis, "emptying") in search of his brothers' love (Phil. 2:6-7; Luke 19:10). This search led him to "Dothan," where he faced the self-righteousness of the religious authorities and their wrath. But notice that it was Yeshua's love which ultimately led him to the cross, for it was there that he willingly suffered and died for the sake of his brothers' sins. Yeshua "set his face like a flint" (Isa. 50:5-7); he never gave up the quest for his brothers' love, even before he was vindicated and exalted to the Father's right hand. "For while we were yet sinners, the Messiah gave up his life for us" (Rom. 5:8). The goal of the cross was to restore us to the "depth of Hebron," the place of communion and love with the Father. God gave up His only begotten Son so that we could be reunited to Him in love. "Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God" (1 John 3:1).