Op-ed

The First Source-Critical Bar Mitzvah Speech?

This is an actual bar mitzvah speech delivered last year by a Modern Orthodox boy at his bar Mitzvah. The source division comes from the source sheets passed out at that event. We have not edited it, though we did make some light adjustments and added subtitles to ease the flow of the piece for the readers. We are not certain that this is the first source critical speech of this sort. If you know of other such bar mitzvah speeches please leave a comment or email the editors@thetorah.

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December 2, 2015

Project TABS Editors

Project TABS Editors

The First Source-Critical Bar Mitzvah Speech?

Photo taken by Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90 – for the Ministry of Tourism.

Introduction – A Too Familiar Story[1]

I know what you are thinking: “another boring bar mitzvah speech” – I feel you;  I have sat through some myself this past year.  But this one is different – I promise! If you pay attention and listen carefully, I think I just might blow your minds.

Who here thinks they know the story of the sale of Joseph?  You may be surprised. We study it in school and hear it every year in synagogue.  But because we think we know the story, we don’t see all the obvious contradictions and problems. We have to stop and read it carefully, to see what is really going on in this famous tale.

Who Sold Joseph and Brought him to Egypt?

The biggest problem is the three caravans or traders mentioned in the story:

  • The Ishmaelites,
  • The Midyanites and
  • The Medanites.

Which one of them actually took Joseph and sold him to Egypt?

The Ishmaelite traders get there first in verse 25, “they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites”- leading Judah to persuade his brothers that instead of killing Joseph, they should sell him to them and make some money. 

But before the sale can take place, the Midyanite traders pass by, pull Joseph out of the pit and it seems they, not the brothers, sell him to the Ishmaelites (verse 28), “they sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites who brought Joseph to Egypt.”

But at the end of the chapter, in verse 36 (bottom of page 3), it says “the Medanites sold him in Egypt to Potiphar” – who are the Medanites? Didn’t the Ishmaelites already bring him to Egypt in verse 28, and then again in the first verse of chapter 39, where it says that Potiphar bought Joseph “from the Ishmaelites who had brought him there,” i.e., not from the Medanites! 

Judah’s Strange Argument

Another problem: Reuben convinces the brothers not to kill Joseph by saying (verse 22) “let us not lay a hand against him (ויד אל תשלחו בו).” Only a few verses later, Judah makes virtually the same argument (verse 27), “but let us not lay our own hands against him (וידנו אל תהי בו).

Even weirder, when Judah proposes his plan to sell Joseph, the brothers had already carried out Reuben’s plan to kill him by throwing him into a pit; a pit that only Reuben knew was not filled with water (והבור ריק אין בו מים). The brothers thought they had already killed him by throwing him into a pit filled with water!  Why else would they throw him into a pit?  (Rashi says it had no water but was filled with snakes and scorpions – still lethal.)

Joseph’s Contradictory Accounts of his Past

We’re not done – there is another problem.  At the end of the parasha, Joseph tells the wine steward who is about to be released from prison that “I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews (כי גנב גנבתי). But later on, in Parashat Vayigash, when Joseph reveals himself to his brothers he says: “Do not be distressed for having sold me here (כי מכרתם אותי הנה).”

So which is it?  Was Joseph kidnapped, or sold by his brothers?

Some Traditional Solutions

Some pre-Rabbinic works like The Book of Jubilees (ca. 150 BCE) and Josephus (early 1st century CE) solve the problem of the different caravans by getting rid of them! The Midyanites’ kidnapping of Joseph is completely removed from the story! The brothers sell him to the Ishmaelites who bring him to Egypt and sell him to Potiphar.

In later generations, in the Rabbinic commentaries, changing or getting rid of parts of the Torah was no longer possible and new ways of interpreting away the contradictions were developed called Midrash.

Medanites=Midianites (Onkelos and Rashi)

Onkelos, who lived in the first century and wrote the famous Targum Onkelos translation of the Torah into Aramaic,[2] translates Medanites as Midyanites – probably correcting what he saw as a typo in the text.  Unfortunately, this still leaves us with two caravans and many questions. Rashi, who lived in the 11th century, also identifies the Medanites as Midyanites. 

Multiple Sales (Rashi)

Rashi further tries to solve the caravan problem—Ishmaelites or Midianites—by suggesting that Joseph was sold many times: the brothers pulled him from the pit, sold him to the Ishmaelites, and they sold him to the Midyanites who sold him to Egypt. Unfortunately, this does not explain verse 1 of chapter 39, which says that Potiphar bought Joseph from the Ishmaelites not the Midyanites. By the way, Rashi doesn’t comment on this phrase – he ignores the problem.

Midianites Sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites

Rashbam, Rashi’s grandson, tried to stick to the plain meaning of the text. His reading is that before the Ishmaelites arrived, different people, the Midyanites, passed by, saw Joseph and pulled him out of the pit, without the brothers’ knowledge, and sold him to the Ishmaelites. This resolves the some of the problems nicely, but what about the Medanites who sell him to Potiphar at the end of the chapter?  Rashbam argues that the Ishmaelites and Medanites are the same people. Not convincing.

Summary

All these solutions are creative but they don’t stick to the plain meaning of the Torah – the peshat(פשט).  They also don’t resolve all the contradictions in the story. The answers seem forced.  So what is really going on here?

The Documentary Solution

Professor Baruch Schwartz of Efrat and The Hebrew University tries a different approach. According to him, the first clue to solving the puzzle is that the troubling parts of the story break down nicely into pairs:

  • Two reasons the brothers hate Joseph
  • Two decisions by the brothers to kill Joseph
  • Two plans to throw Joseph into a pit
  • Two arguments for saving him and
  • Two passing tribes of traders (assuming Midyanites=Medanites)

By following the plain meaning of the verses, we can see two complete and independent stories have been blended together in chapter 37. When read separately, each one stands on its own and the differences between the two are clear.

Version 1

In one version of the story – in orange, the brothers hate Joseph because he is a tattle-tale who rats them out to their father.  He is not the favorite son and there is no coat of many colors and no annoying dreams. The brothers not only want to kill Joseph but actually try to do so with only Reuven knowing that the boy is safe because the pit is empty – not filled with water. Then they go to eat, and while they are away the Midyanites come by and steal Joseph from the pit. Reuven returns but Joseph is gone and the story ends with the Medanites (the same as Midyanites) taking Joseph to Egypt and selling him there. This story is consistent with Joseph’s later claim that he was stolen from his homeland.

בb יוֹסֵף בֶּן שְׁבַע עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה הָיָה רֹעֶה אֶת אֶחָיו בַּצֹּאן וְהוּא נַעַר אֶת בְּנֵי בִלְהָה וְאֶת בְּנֵי זִלְפָּה נְשֵׁי אָבִיו וַיָּבֵא יוֹסֵף אֶת דִּבָּתָם רָעָה אֶל אֲבִיהֶם //. יאb וְאָבִיו שָׁמַר אֶת הַדָּבָר. יב וַיֵּלְכוּ אֶחָיו לִרְעוֹת אֶת צֹאן אֲבִיהֶם בִּשְׁכֶם.  יג וַיֹּאמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל יוֹסֵף הֲלוֹא אַחֶיךָ רֹעִים בִּשְׁכֶם לְכָה וְאֶשְׁלָחֲךָ אֲלֵיהֶם וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ הִנֵּנִי.  יד וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ לֶךְ נָא רְאֵה אֶת שְׁלוֹם אַחֶיךָ וְאֶת שְׁלוֹם הַצֹּאן וַהֲשִׁבֵנִי דָּבָר וַיִּשְׁלָחֵהוּ מעמק חברון ויבוא שְׁכֶמָה.  טו וַיִּמְצָאֵהוּ אִישׁ וְהִנֵּה תֹעֶה בַּשָּׂדֶה וַיִּשְׁאָלֵהוּ הָאִישׁ לֵאמֹר מַה תְּבַקֵּשׁ.  טז וַיֹּאמֶר אֶת אַחַי אָנֹכִי מְבַקֵּשׁ הַגִּידָה נָּא לִי אֵיפֹה הֵם רֹעִים. יז וַיֹּאמֶר הָאִישׁ נָסְעוּ מִזֶּה כִּי שָׁמַעְתִּי אֹמְרִים נֵלְכָה דֹּתָיְנָה וַיֵּלֶךְ יוֹסֵף אַחַר אֶחָיו וַיִּמְצָאֵם בְּדֹתָן. יח  וַיִּרְאוּ אֹתוֹ מֵרָחֹק וּבְטֶרֶם יִקְרַב אֲלֵיהֶם וַיִּתְנַכְּלוּ אֹתוֹ לַהֲמִיתוֹ //. כא וַיִּשְׁמַע רְאוּבֵן וַיַּצִּלֵהוּ מִיָּדָם וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא נַכֶּנּוּ נָפֶשׁ. כב וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם רְאוּבֵן אַל תִּשְׁפְּכוּ דָם הַשְׁלִיכוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל הַבּוֹר הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר בַּמִּדְבָּר וְיָד אַל תִּשְׁלְחוּ בוֹ לְמַעַן הַצִּיל אֹתוֹ מִיָּדָם לַהֲשִׁיבוֹ אֶל אָבִיו//.  כד וַיִּקָּחֻהוּ וַיַּשְׁלִכוּ אֹתוֹ הַבֹּרָה וְהַבּוֹר רֵק אֵין בּוֹ מָיִם. כהa וַיֵּשְׁבוּ לֶאֱכָל לֶחֶם //  כחa  וַיַּעַבְרוּ אֲנָשִׁים מִדְיָנִים סֹחֲרִים וַיִּמְשְׁכוּ וַיַּעֲלוּ אֶת יוֹסֵף מִן הַבּוֹר. //  כט וַיָּשָׁב רְאוּבֵן אֶל הַבּוֹר וְהִנֵּה אֵין יוֹסֵף בַּבּוֹר וַיִּקְרַע אֶת בְּגָדָיו.  ל וַיָּשָׁב אֶל אֶחָיו וַיֹּאמַר הַיֶּלֶד אֵינֶנּוּ וַאֲנִי אָנָה אֲנִי בָא // . לו וְהַמְּדָנִים מָכְרוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל מִצְרָיִם לְפוֹטִיפַר סְרִיס פַּרְעֹה שַׂר הַטַּבָּחִים.
2b. At seventeen years of age, Joseph tended the flocks with his brothers, as a lad among the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. Joseph brought bad reports of them to their father, // 11b. but his father kept the matter to himself. 12. One time, when his brothers had gone to pasture their father’s flock at Shechem, 13. Israel said to Joseph, “Your brothers are pasturing at Shechem. Come, I will send you to them.” He answered, “I am ready.” 14. So he said to him, “Go and see how your brothers are and how the flocks are faring, and bring me back word.” So he sent him from the valley of Hebron, and when he reached Shechem, 15. a man came upon him wandering in the fields. The man asked him, “What are you looking for?” 16. He answered, “I am looking for my brothers. Could you tell me where they are pasturing?” 17. The man said, “They have gone from here, for I heard them say: Let us go to Dothan.” So Joseph followed his brothers and found them at Dothan. 18. They saw him from afar, and before he came close to them they conspired to kill him. // 21.  But when Reuben heard it, he tried to save him from them. He said, “Let us not take his life.” 22. And Reuben went on. “Shed no blood! Cast him into that cistern out in the wilderness, but do not touch him yourselves”—intending to save him from them and restore him to his father. // 24.  So they took him and cast him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.  25a. Then sat down to a meal. // 28a. Some Midianite traders passed by and pulled Joseph up out of the cistern. // 29. When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not in the cistern, he rent his clothes. 30. Returning to his brothers, he said, “The boy is gone! Now, what am I to do?” // 36. TheMedanites (Midyanites), meanwhile, had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, a courtier of Pharaoh and his chief steward.
בראשית מ:טו כִּי גֻנֹּב גֻּנַּבְתִּי מֵאֶרֶץ הָעִבְרִים וְגַם פֹּה לֹא עָשִׂיתִי מְאוּמָה כִּי שָׂמוּ אֹתִי בַּבּוֹר.
Genesis 40:15 For in truth, I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews; nor have I done anything here that they should have put me in the dungeon (pit).

Version 2

In the second version of the story, the brothers hate Joseph because he is Jacob’s favorite and we have the coat of many colors and the dreams. The brothers plan to kill Joseph and remove his special coat, but before they can kill him they see the Ishmaelites and Judah comes up with the plan to sell rather than kill Joseph. After selling him, they lie to their father about what happened. This story is consistent with Joseph’s statement to his brothers, later in Parshat Vayigash, that they shouldn’t be upset about selling him into slavery because it was god’s will.

ג וְיִשְׂרָאֵל אָהַב אֶת יוֹסֵף מִכָּל בָּנָיו כִּי בֶן זְקֻנִים הוּא לוֹ וְעָשָׂה לוֹ כְּתֹנֶת פַּסִּים. ד  וַיִּרְאוּ אֶחָיו כִּי אֹתוֹ אָהַב אֲבִיהֶם מִכָּל אֶחָיו וַיִּשְׂנְאוּ אֹתוֹ וְלֹא יָכְלוּ דַּבְּרוֹ לְשָׁלֹם.  ה  וַיַּחֲלֹם יוֹסֵף חֲלוֹם וַיַּגֵּד לְאֶחָיו וַיּוֹסִפוּ עוֹד שְׂנֹא אֹתוֹ. ו  וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם שִׁמְעוּ נָא הַחֲלוֹם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר חָלָמְתִּי. ז וְהִנֵּה אֲנַחְנוּ מְאַלְּמִים אֲלֻמִּים בְּתוֹךְ הַשָּׂדֶה וְהִנֵּה קָמָה אֲלֻמָּתִי וְגַם נִצָּבָה וְהִנֵּה תְסֻבֶּינָה אֲלֻמֹּתֵיכֶם וַתִּשְׁתַּחֲוֶין לַאֲלֻמָּתִי.  ח וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ אֶחָיו הֲמָלֹךְ תִּמְלֹךְ עָלֵינוּ אִם מָשׁוֹל תִּמְשֹׁל בָּנוּ וַיּוֹסִפוּ עוֹד שְׂנֹא אֹתוֹ עַל חֲלֹמֹתָיו וְעַל דְּבָרָיו. ט וַיַּחֲלֹם עוֹד חֲלוֹם אַחֵר וַיְסַפֵּר אֹתוֹ לְאֶחָיו וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה חָלַמְתִּי חֲלוֹם עוֹד וְהִנֵּה הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וְהַיָּרֵחַ וְאַחַד עָשָׂר כּוֹכָבִים מִשְׁתַּחֲוִים לִי. י וַיְסַפֵּר אֶל אָבִיו וְאֶל אֶחָיו וַיִּגְעַר בּוֹ אָבִיו וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ מָה הַחֲלוֹם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר חָלָמְתָּ הֲבוֹא נָבוֹא אֲנִי וְאִמְּךָ וְאַחֶיךָ לְהִשְׁתַּחֲו‍ֹת לְךָ אָרְצָה.  יאa וַיְקַנְאוּ בוֹ אֶחָיו // יט וַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל אָחִיו הִנֵּה בַּעַל הַחֲלֹמוֹת הַלָּזֶה בָּא. כ וְעַתָּה לְכוּ וְנַהַרְגֵהוּ וְנַשְׁלִכֵהוּ בְּאַחַד הַבֹּרוֹת וְאָמַרְנוּ חַיָּה רָעָה אֲכָלָתְהוּ וְנִרְאֶה מַה יִּהְיוּ חֲלֹמֹתָיו. // כג וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר בָּא יוֹסֵף אֶל אֶחָיו וַיַּפְשִׁיטוּ אֶת יוֹסֵף אֶת כֻּתָּנְתּוֹ אֶת כְּתֹנֶת הַפַּסִּים אֲשֶׁר עָלָיו. // . כהb  וַיִּשְׂאוּ עֵינֵיהֶם וַיִּרְאוּ וְהִנֵּה אֹרְחַת יִשְׁמְעֵאלִים בָּאָה מִגִּלְעָד וּגְמַלֵּיהֶם נֹשְׂאִים נְכֹאת וּצְרִי וָלֹט הוֹלְכִים לְהוֹרִיד מִצְרָיְמָה.  כו וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוּדָה אֶל אֶחָיו מַה בֶּצַע כִּי נַהֲרֹג אֶת אָחִינוּ וְכִסִּינוּ אֶת דָּמוֹ. כז לְכוּ וְנִמְכְּרֶנּוּ לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִים וְיָדֵנוּ אַל תְּהִי בוֹ כִּי אָחִינוּ בְשָׂרֵנוּ הוּא וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶחָיו //. כחb וַיִּמְכְּרוּ אֶת יוֹסֵף לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִים בְּעֶשְׂרִים כָּסֶף וַיָּבִיאוּ אֶת יוֹסֵף מִצְרָיְמָה //. לא  וַיִּקְחוּ אֶת כְּתֹנֶת יוֹסֵף וַיִּשְׁחֲטוּ שְׂעִיר עִזִּים וַיִּטְבְּלוּ אֶת הַכֻּתֹּנֶת בַּדָּם.  לב וַיְשַׁלְּחוּ אֶת כְּתֹנֶת הַפַּסִּים וַיָּבִיאוּ אֶל אֲבִיהֶם וַיֹּאמְרוּ זֹאת מָצָאנוּ הַכֶּר נָא הַכְּתֹנֶת בִּנְךָ הִוא אִם לֹא.  לג  וַיַּכִּירָהּ וַיֹּאמֶר כְּתֹנֶת בְּנִי חַיָּה רָעָה אֲכָלָתְהוּ טָרֹף טֹרַף יוֹסֵף .  לד  וַיִּקְרַע יַעֲקֹב שִׂמְלֹתָיו וַיָּשֶׂם שַׂק בְּמָתְנָיו וַיִּתְאַבֵּל עַל בְּנוֹ יָמִים רַבִּים. לה  וַיָּקֻמוּ כָל בָּנָיו וְכָל בְּנֹתָיו לְנַחֲמוֹ וַיְמָאֵן לְהִתְנַחֵם וַיֹּאמֶר כִּי אֵרֵד אֶל בְּנִי אָבֵל שְׁאֹלָה וַיֵּבְךְּ אֹתוֹ אָבי.
3. Now Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age; and he made him an ornamented tunic. 4. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of his brothers, they hated him so that they could not speak a friendly word to him. 5. Once Joseph had a dream which he told to his brothers, and they hated him even more. 6. He said to them, “Hear this dream which I have dreamed: 7. There we were binding sheaves in the field, when suddenly my sheaf stood up and remained upright; then your sheaves gathered around and bowed low to my sheaf.” 8. His brothers answered, “Do you mean to reign over us? Do you mean to rule over us?” And they hated him even more for his talk about his dreams. 9. He dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers, saying, “Look, I have had another dream: And this time, the sun, the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10. And when he told it to his father and brothers, his father berated him. “What,” he said to him, “is this dream you have dreamed? Are we to come, I and your mother and your brothers, and bow low to you to the ground?” 11. His brothers were enraged at him, //19. and they said to one another, “Here comes that dreamer! 20. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we can say, ‘A savage beast devoured him.’ We shall see what comes of his dreams!” // 23. When Joseph came up to his brothers, they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the ornamented tunic that he was wearing. // 25b. They looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, their camels bearing gum, balm, and ladanum to be taken to Egypt. 26. Then Judah said to his brothers, “What do we gain by killing our brother and covering up his blood? 27. Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaclites, but let us not do away with him ourselves. After all, he is our brother. our own flesh.” His brothers agreed. // 28a-b. They sold Joseph for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who brought Joseph to Egypt. // 31. Then they took Joseph’s tunic, slaughtered a kid, and dipped the tunic in the blood. 32. They had the ornamented tunic taken to their father,  and they said, “We found this. Please examine it; is it your son’s tunic or not?” 33. He recognized it, and said, “My son’s tunic! A savage beast devoured him! Joseph was torn by a beast!” 34.  Jacob rent his clothes, put sackcloth on his loins, and observed mourning for his son many days. 35. All his sons and daughters sought to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, saying. “No, I will go down mourning to my son in Sheol.” Thus his father bewailed him.
בראשית לט:א. וְיוֹסֵף הוּרַד מִצְרָיְמָה וַיִּקְנֵהוּ פּוֹטִיפַר סְרִיס פַּרְעֹה שַׂר הַטַּבָּחִים אִישׁ מִצְרִי מִיַּד הַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִים אֲשֶׁר הוֹרִדֻהוּ שָׁמָּה.
Genesis 39:1 When Joseph was taken down to Egypt, a certain Egyptian, Potiphar, a courtier of Pharaoh and his chief steward, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him there.
בראשית מה:ה. וְעַתָּה אַל תֵּעָצְבוּ וְאַל יִחַר בְּעֵינֵיכֶם כִּי מְכַרְתֶּם אֹתִי הֵנָּה כִּי לְמִחְיָה שְׁלָחַנִי אֱלֹהִים לִפְנֵיכֶם.
Genesis 45:5 Now, do not be distressed or reproach yourselves because you sold me hither; it was to save life that God sent me ahead of you.

Comparing Details from the Versions

In the first tradition Jacob’s family are sheepherders. In the second tradition, which includes the dreams, they are farmers – this is why one of the dreams refers to sheaves of grain. So, in the first story Joseph is sent to find his brothers tending the sheep while in the second story the whole incident takes place close to home in one of the fields where they gathered sheaves.

In the first story, the word for killing is Lehamito להמיתו; in the second story, the word used is venahargehu ונהרגהו.

Each story represents its own ancient tradition of how Joseph was sold and brought to Egypt. In one, the eldest son Reuven is the leader and Joseph is stolen by Midyanites; in the other, Judah, the ancestor of King David, is the leader and the brothers sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites.

Conclusion – Reading the Torah Carefully

Like a good magic trick, we don’t notice the separate stories until we slow it down and look very carefully at the text. Rather than choose one tradition, the Torah preserves and reports both by merging them into one continuous, but slightly confusing, story. (End of dvar torah)

Thank you

I would like to thank …., for teaching me how to layn and read my haftorah even after he became a famous celebrity. I would also like to thank Rabbi …. for studying my Parsha with me.

Thank you mom for planning and organizing my bar mitzvah. Thank you dad for studying with me and helping me write my speech (I totally did all the work).  Thank you …. for putting up with all of dad’s fits. Thank you Dad for putting up with all of my fits.

A shout out to all the people who came from out of town. And a special thanks to the …… school for not only giving me a great education but also letting me have my bar mitzvah here. 

Last but not least, I am so lucky to have all my grandparents here and my great grandmother grandma ….. – I love you.

Shabbat Shalom!



בראשית לז –  Combined Text

P=Red, J=Blue, E=Green

א וַיֵּשֶׁב יַעֲקֹב בְּאֶרֶץ מְגוּרֵי אָבִיו בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן. ב אֵלֶּה תֹּלְדוֹת יַעֲקֹב
יוֹסֵף בֶּן שְׁבַע עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה הָיָה רֹעֶה אֶת אֶחָיו בַּצֹּאן וְהוּא נַעַר אֶת בְּנֵי בִלְהָה וְאֶת בְּנֵי זִלְפָּה נְשֵׁי אָבִיו וַיָּבֵא יוֹסֵף אֶת דִּבָּתָם רָעָה אֶל אֲבִיהֶם.
ג וְיִשְׂרָאֵל אָהַב אֶת יוֹסֵף מִכָּל בָּנָיו כִּי בֶן זְקֻנִים הוּא לוֹ וְעָשָׂה לוֹ כְּתֹנֶת פַּסִּים. ד  וַיִּרְאוּ אֶחָיו כִּי אֹתוֹ אָהַב אֲבִיהֶם מִכָּל אֶחָיו וַיִּשְׂנְאוּ אֹתוֹ וְלֹא יָכְלוּ דַּבְּרוֹ לְשָׁלֹם. ה  וַיַּחֲלֹם יוֹסֵף חֲלוֹם וַיַּגֵּד לְאֶחָיו וַיּוֹסִפוּ עוֹד שְׂנֹא אֹתוֹ.  ו וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם שִׁמְעוּ נָא הַחֲלוֹם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר חָלָמְתִּי. ז  וְהִנֵּה אֲנַחְנוּ מְאַלְּמִים אֲלֻמִּים בְּתוֹךְ הַשָּׂדֶה וְהִנֵּה קָמָה אֲלֻמָּתִי וְגַם נִצָּבָה וְהִנֵּה תְסֻבֶּינָה אֲלֻמֹּתֵיכֶם וַתִּשְׁתַּחֲוֶיןָ לַאֲלֻמָּתִי.  ח וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ אֶחָיו הֲמָלֹךְ תִּמְלֹךְ עָלֵינוּ אִם מָשׁוֹל תִּמְשֹׁל בָּנוּ וַיּוֹסִפוּ עוֹד שְׂנֹא אֹתוֹ עַל חֲלֹמֹתָיו וְעַל דְּבָרָיו. ט וַיַּחֲלֹם עוֹד חֲלוֹם אַחֵר וַיְסַפֵּר אֹתוֹ לְאֶחָיו וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה חָלַמְתִּי חֲלוֹם עוֹד וְהִנֵּה הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וְהַיָּרֵחַ וְאַחַד עָשָׂר כּוֹכָבִים מִשְׁתַּחֲוִים לִי. י וַיְסַפֵּר אֶל אָבִיו וְאֶל אֶחָיו וַיִּגְעַר בּוֹ אָבִיו וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ מָה הַחֲלוֹם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר חָלָמְתָּ הֲבוֹא נָבוֹא אֲנִי וְאִמְּךָ וְאַחֶיךָ לְהִשְׁתַּחֲו‍ֹת לְךָ אָרְצָה. יא וַיְקַנְאוּ בוֹ אֶחָיו
וְאָבִיו שָׁמַר אֶת הַדָּבָר. יב וַיֵּלְכוּ אֶחָיו לִרְעוֹת אֶת צֹאן אֲבִיהֶם בִּשְׁכֶם.  יג וַיֹּאמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל יוֹסֵף הֲלוֹא אַחֶיךָ רֹעִים בִּשְׁכֶם לְכָה וְאֶשְׁלָחֲךָ אֲלֵיהֶם וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ הִנֵּנִי. יד וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ לֶךְ נָא רְאֵה אֶת שְׁלוֹם אַחֶיךָ וְאֶת שְׁלוֹם הַצֹּאן וַהֲשִׁבֵנִי דָּבָר וַיִּשְׁלָחֵהוּ מֵעֵמֶק חֶבְרוֹן וַיָּבֹא שְׁכֶמָה. טו  וַיִּמְצָאֵהוּ אִישׁ וְהִנֵּה תֹעֶה בַּשָּׂדֶה וַיִּשְׁאָלֵהוּ הָאִישׁ לֵאמֹר מַה תְּבַקֵּשׁ.  טז וַיֹּאמֶר אֶת אַחַי אָנֹכִי מְבַקֵּשׁ הַגִּידָה נָּא לִי אֵיפֹה הֵם רֹעִים. יז  וַיֹּאמֶר הָאִישׁ נָסְעוּ מִזֶּה כִּי שָׁמַעְתִּי אֹמְרִים נֵלְכָה דֹּתָיְנָה וַיֵּלֶךְ יוֹסֵף אַחַר אֶחָיו וַיִּמְצָאֵם בְּדֹתָן.  יח וַיִּרְאוּ אֹתוֹ מֵרָחֹק וּבְטֶרֶם יִקְרַב אֲלֵיהֶם וַיִּתְנַכְּלוּ אֹתוֹ לַהֲמִיתוֹ.
יט וַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל אָחִיו הִנֵּה בַּעַל הַחֲלֹמוֹת הַלָּזֶה בָּא. כ וְעַתָּה לְכוּ וְנַהַרְגֵהוּ וְנַשְׁלִכֵהוּ בְּאַחַד הַבֹּרוֹת וְאָמַרְנוּ חַיָּה רָעָה אֲכָלָתְהוּ וְנִרְאֶה מַה יִּהְיוּ חֲלֹמֹתָיו.
כא וַיִּשְׁמַע רְאוּבֵן וַיַּצִּלֵהוּ מִיָּדָם וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא נַכֶּנּוּ נָפֶשׁ. כב וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם רְאוּבֵן אַל תִּשְׁפְּכוּ דָם הַשְׁלִיכוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל הַבּוֹר הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר בַּמִּדְבָּר וְיָד אַל תִּשְׁלְחוּ בוֹ לְמַעַן הַצִּיל אֹתוֹ מִיָּדָם לַהֲשִׁיבוֹ אֶל אָבִיו.
כג וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר בָּא יוֹסֵף אֶל אֶחָיו וַיַּפְשִׁיטוּ אֶת יוֹסֵף אֶת כֻּתָּנְתּוֹ אֶת כְּתֹנֶת הַפַּסִּים אֲשֶׁר עָלָיו.
כד וַיִּקָּחֻהוּ וַיַּשְׁלִכוּ אֹתוֹ הַבֹּרָה וְהַבּוֹר רֵק אֵין בּוֹ מָיִם. כה וַיֵּשְׁבוּ לֶאֱכָל לֶחֶם
וַיִּשְׂאוּ עֵינֵיהֶם וַיִּרְאוּ וְהִנֵּה אֹרְחַת יִשְׁמְעֵאלִים בָּאָה מִגִּלְעָד וּגְמַלֵּיהֶם נֹשְׂאִים נְכֹאת וּצְרִי וָלֹט הוֹלְכִים לְהוֹרִיד מִצְרָיְמָה. כו וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוּדָה אֶל אֶחָיו מַה בֶּצַע כִּי נַהֲרֹג אֶת אָחִינוּ וְכִסִּינוּ אֶת דָּמוֹ. כז לְכוּ וְנִמְכְּרֶנּוּ לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִים וְיָדֵנוּ אַל תְּהִי בוֹ כִּי אָחִינוּ בְשָׂרֵנוּ הוּא וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶחָיו.
כח וַיַּעַבְרוּ אֲנָשִׁים מִדְיָנִים סֹחֲרִים וַיִּמְשְׁכוּ וַיַּעֲלוּ אֶת יוֹסֵף מִן הַבּוֹר
וַיִּמְכְּרוּ אֶת יוֹסֵף לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִים בְּעֶשְׂרִים כָּסֶף וַיָּבִיאוּ אֶת יוֹסֵף מִצְרָיְמָה.
כט וַיָּשָׁב רְאוּבֵן אֶל הַבּוֹר וְהִנֵּה אֵין יוֹסֵף בַּבּוֹר וַיִּקְרַע אֶת בְּגָדָיו. ל וַיָּשָׁב אֶל אֶחָיו וַיֹּאמַר הַיֶּלֶד אֵינֶנּוּ וַאֲנִי אָנָה אֲנִי בָא.
לא וַיִּקְחוּ אֶת כְּתֹנֶת יוֹסֵף וַיִּשְׁחֲטוּ שְׂעִיר עִזִּים וַיִּטְבְּלוּ אֶת הַכֻּתֹּנֶת בַּדָּם.  לב  וַיְשַׁלְּחוּ אֶת כְּתֹנֶת הַפַּסִּים וַיָּבִיאוּ אֶל אֲבִיהֶם וַיֹּאמְרוּ זֹאת מָצָאנוּ הַכֶּר נָא הַכְּתֹנֶת בִּנְךָ הִוא אִם לֹא.  לג וַיַּכִּירָהּ וַיֹּאמֶר כְּתֹנֶת בְּנִי חַיָּה רָעָה אֲכָלָתְהוּ טָרֹף טֹרַף יוֹסֵף. לד  וַיִּקְרַע יַעֲקֹב שִׂמְלֹתָיו וַיָּשֶׂם שַׂק בְּמָתְנָיו וַיִּתְאַבֵּל עַל בְּנוֹ יָמִים רַבִּים. לה וַיָּקֻמוּ כָל בָּנָיו וְכָל בְּנֹתָיו לְנַחֲמוֹ וַיְמָאֵן לְהִתְנַחֵם וַיֹּאמֶר כִּי אֵרֵד אֶל בְּנִי אָבֵל שְׁאֹלָה וַיֵּבְךְּ אֹתוֹ אָבִיו.
לו וְהַמְּדָנִים מָכְרוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל מִצְרָיִם לְפוֹטִיפַר סְרִיס פַּרְעֹה שַׂר הַטַּבָּחִים.
1. Now Jacob was settled in the land where his father had sojourned, the land of Canaan. 2. This, then, is the line of Jacob.
At seventeen years of age, Joseph tended the flocks with his brothers, as a lad among the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. Joseph brought bad reports of’ them: to their father.
3. Now Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age; and he made him an ornamented tunic. 4. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of his brothers, they hated him so that they could not speak a friendly word to him. 5. Once Joseph had a dream which he told to his brothers, and they hated him even more. 6. He said to them, “Hear this dream which I have dreamed: 7. There we were binding sheaves in the field, when suddenly my sheaf stood up and remained upright; then your sheaves gathered around and bowed low to my sheaf.  8. His brothers answered, “Do you mean to reign over us? Do you mean to rule over us?” And they hated him even more for his talk about his dreams. 9. He dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers, saying, “Look, I have had another dream: And this time, the sun, the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me. 10. And when he told it to his father and brothers, his father berated him. “What,” he said to him, “is this dream you have dreamed? Are we to come, I and your mother and your brothers, and bow low to you to the ground?” 11. His brothers were enraged at him.
His father kept the matter to himself. 12.  One time, when his brothers had gone to pasture their father’s flock at Shechem. 13. Israel said to Joseph, “Your brothers are pasturing at Shechem. Come, I will send you to them.” He answered, “I am ready.” 14. And he said to him, “Go and see how your brothers are and how the flocks are faring, and bring me back word.” So he sent him from the valley of Hebron. When he reached Shechem, 15. a man came upon him wandering in the fields. The man asked him, “What are you looking for?” 16. He answered, “I am looking for my brothers. Could you tell me where they are pasturing?” 17. The man said, “They have gone from here, for I heard them say: Let us go to Dothan.” So Joseph followed his brothers and found themat Dothan. 18. They saw him from afar, and before he cameclose to them they conspired to kill him.
19. And they said to one another, “Here comes that dreamer! 20. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we can say, ‘A savage beast devoured him.’ We shall see what comes of his dreams!
21When Reuben heard it, he tried to save him from them. He said, “Let us not take his life.” 22. And Reuben said, “Shed no blood! Cast him into that pit out in the wilderness, but do not touch him yourselves”—intending to save him from them and restore him to his father. 
23When Joseph came up to his brothers, they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the ornamented tunic that he was wearing.
24. They took him and cast him into the pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it. 25. Then they sat down to a meal. 
Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, their camels bearing gum, balm, and ladanum to be taken to Egypt. 26. Then Judah said to his brothers, “What do we gain by killing our brother and covering up his blood? 27. Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let us not do away with him ourselves. After all, he is our brother. our own flesh.” His brothers agreed.
28. Some Midianite traders passed by and they pulled Joseph up out of the pit.
They sold Joseph for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who brought Joseph to Egypt.
29. When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he rent his clothes. 30. Returning to his brothers, he said, “The boy is gone! Now, what am I to do?”
31. Then they took Joseph’s tunic, slaughtered a kid, and dipped the tunic in the blood. 32. They had the ornamented tunic taken to their father, and they said, “We found this. Please examine it; is it your son’s tunic or not?” 33. He recognized it, and said,” My son’s tunic! A savage beast devoured him! Joseph was torn by a beast!”  34. Jacob rent his clothes, put sackcloth on his loins, and observed mourning for his son many days.  35. All his sons and daughters sought to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, saying. “No, I will go down mourning to my son in Sheol.” Thus his father bewailed him.
36. The Medanites (Midyanites), meanwhile, had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, a courtier of Pharaoh and his chief steward.

 

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