Bereshit (Genesis) Chapter 37

1Jacob dwelt in the land of his father's sojournings, in the land of Canaan.   אוַיֵּ֣שֶׁב יַֽעֲקֹ֔ב בְּאֶ֖רֶץ מְגוּרֵ֣י אָבִ֑יו בְּאֶ֖רֶץ כְּנָֽעַן:
Jacob dwelt: Scripture described Esau’s settlements and his generations, [but only] briefly, because they were not distinguished nor important enough to elaborate on [in detail] how they settled and the order of their wars, [or] how they drove out the Horites. [In contrast] it (Scripture) elaborates at length on the settlements of Jacob and his generations, and all the events that brought these about, since they were [considered] important [enough] to the Omnipresent to dwell upon at length. Similarly, you find regarding the ten generations from Adam to Noah: So-and-so begot so-and-so, but when it (Scripture) reached Noah, it dwelt upon him at length. Likewise, with the ten generations from Noah to Abraham, it dealt [only] briefly with them, but when it reached Abraham, it dwelt upon him at length. This can be compared to a pearl that falls into the sand: A person searches in the sand and sifts it with a sieve until he finds the pearl, and when he finds it, he casts the pebbles from his hand and keeps the pearl. (Another interpretation of “Jacob dwelt” -The camels of a flax dealer [once] entered [a town], laden with flax. The blacksmith wondered, “Where will all this flax go?” One clever fellow answered him, “One spark will come out of your bellows, which will burn it all.” So did Jacob see all the chieftains [of Esau] mentioned above (36:15-19, 40-43). He wondered and said, “Who can conquer them all?” What is written below? “These are the generations of Jacob: Joseph” (verse 2), only, and it is written: “And the house of Jacob shall be fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau shall become stubble” (Obadiah 1:18). One spark will emerge from Joseph, which will destroy and consume them all. From an old Rashi.) [From Tanchuma Vayeshev 1]   וַיֵּשֶׁב יַֽעֲקֹב וגו': אַחַר שֶׁכָּתַב לְךָ יִשּׁוּבֵי עֵשָׂו וְתוֹלְדוֹתָיו בְּדֶרֶךְ קְצָרָה, שֶׁלֹּא הָיוּ סְפוּנִים וַחֲשׁוּבִים לְפָרֵשׁ הֵיאַךְ נִתְיַשְּׁבוּ וְסֵדֶר מִלְחֲמוֹתֵיהֶם אֵיךְ הוֹרִישׁוּ אֶת הַחֹרִי, פֵּרֵשׁ לָךְ יִשּׁוּבֵי יַעֲקֹב וְתוֹלְדוֹתָיו בְּדֶרֶךְ אֲרֻכָּה כָּל גִּלְגּוּלֵי סִבָּתָם, לְפִי שֶׁהֵם חֲשׁוּבִים לִפְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם לְהַאֲרִיךְ בָּהֶם, וְכֵן אַתָּה מוֹצֵא בְּי' דוֹרוֹת שֶׁמֵּאָדָם וְעַד נֹחַ פְּלוֹנִי הוֹלִיד פְּלוֹנִי, וּכְשֶׁבָּא לְנֹחַ הֶאֱרִיךְ בּוֹ, וְכֵן בְּי' דוֹרוֹת שֶׁמִּנֹּחַ וְעַד אַבְרָהָם קִצֵּר בָּהֶם, וּמִשֶּׁהִגִּיעַ אֵצֶל אַבְרָהָם הֶאֱרִיךְ בּוֹ. מָשָׁל לְמַרְגָּלִית שֶׁנָּפְלָה בֵּין הַחוֹל, אָדָם מְמַשְׁמֵּשׁ בַּחוֹל וְכוֹבְרוֹ בִּכְבָרָה עַד שֶׁמּוֹצֵא אֶת הַמַּרְגָּלִית, וּמִשֶּׁמְּצָאָהּ הוּא מַשְׁלִיךְ אֶת הַצְּרוֹרוֹת מִיָּדוֹ וְנוֹטֵל הַמַּרְגָּלִית. דָּבָר אַחֵר וישב יעקב, הַפִּשְׁתָּנִי הַזֶּה נִכְנְסוּ גְמַלָּיו טְעוּנִים פִּשְׁתָּן, הַפֶּחָמִי תָמַהּ אָנָה יִכָּנֵס כָּל הַפִּשְׁתָּן הַזֶּה? הָיָה פִּקֵּחַ אֶחָד מֵשִׁיב לוֹ נִצּוֹץ אֶחָד יוֹצֵא מִמַּפּוּחַ שֶׁלְּךָ שֶׁשּׂוֹרֵף אֶת כֻּלּוֹ, כָּךְ יַעֲקֹב רָאָה אֶת כָּל הָאַלּוּפִים הַכְּתוּבִים לְמַעְלָה, תָּמַהּ וְאָמַר מִי יָכוֹל לִכְבֹּשׁ אֶת כֻּלָּן? מַה כְּתִיב לְמַטָּה, אֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדוֹת יַעֲקֹב יוֹסֵף, דִּכְתִיב וְהָיָה בֵית יַעֲקֹב אֵשׁ וּבֵית יוֹסֵף לֶהָבָה וּבֵית עֵשָׂו לְקַשׁ (עובדיה א') – נִצּוֹץ יוֹצֵא מִיּוֹסֵף שֶׁמְּכַלֶּה וְשׂוֹרֵף אֶת כֻּלָּם:
2These are the generations of Jacob: when Joseph was seventeen years old, being a shepherd, he was with his brothers with the flocks, and he was a lad, [and was] with the sons of Bilhah and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives; and Joseph brought evil tales about them to their father.   באֵ֣לֶּה | תֹּֽלְד֣וֹת יַֽעֲקֹ֗ב יוֹסֵ֞ף בֶּן־שְׁבַע־עֶשְׂרֵ֤ה שָׁנָה֙ הָיָ֨ה רֹעֶ֤ה אֶת־אֶחָיו֙ בַּצֹּ֔אן וְה֣וּא נַ֗עַר אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י בִלְהָ֛ה וְאֶת־בְּנֵ֥י זִלְפָּ֖ה נְשֵׁ֣י אָבִ֑יו וַיָּבֵ֥א יוֹסֵ֛ף אֶת־דִּבָּתָ֥ם רָעָ֖ה אֶל־אֲבִיהֶֽם:
These are the generations of Jacob: And these are those of the generations of Jacob. These are their settlements and their wanderings until they came to settle. The first cause [of their wanderings]: when Joseph was seventeen years old, etc. Through this [the events that unfolded], they wandered and descended to Egypt. This is according to the plain explanation of the verse, putting everything in its proper perspective. The Midrash Aggadah, however, interprets [the passage as follows]: Scripture bases the generations of Jacob on Joseph because of many things: one is that, with his entire being, Jacob served Laban only for Rachel [and Rachel bore Joseph]. In addition, Joseph’s features resembled his (Jacob’s), and whatever happened to Jacob happened to Joseph. This one (Jacob) was hated, and that one (Joseph) was hated. This one-his brother (Esau) sought to kill him, and that one his brothers sought to kill him, and likewise many [other similarities related] in Genesis Rabbah (84:6). It is further expounded upon [as follows]: “dwelt” (verse 1) When Jacob sought to dwell in tranquility, the troubles of Joseph sprang upon him. The righteous seek to dwell in tranquility. Said the Holy One, blessed be He, “What is prepared for the righteous in the world to come is not sufficient for them, but they seek [also] to dwell in tranquility in this world!”   אֵלֶּה תולדות יַֽעֲקֹב: וְאֵלֶּה שֶׁל תּוֹלְדוֹת יַעֲקֹב, אֵלּוּ יִשּׁוּבֵיהֶם וְגִלְגּוּלֵיהֶם עַד שֶׁבָּאוּ לִכְלַל יִשּׁוּב, סִבָּה רִאשׁוֹנָה יוֹסֵף בֶּן י"ז וְגוֹמֵר, עַל יְדֵי זֶה נִתְגַּלְגְּלוּ וְיָרְדוּ לְמִצְרַיִם, זֶהוּ אַחַר יִשּׁוּב פְּשׁוּטוֹ שֶׁל מִקְרָא לִהְיוֹת דָּבָר דָּבוּר עַל אָפְנָיו. וּמִדְרַשׁ אַגָּדָה דּוֹרֵשׁ תָּלָה הַכָּתוּב תּוֹלְדוֹת יַעֲקֹב בְּיוֹסֵף מִפְּנֵי כַמָּה דְבָרִים, אַחַת, שֶׁכָּל עַצְמוֹ שֶׁל יַעֲקֹב לֹא עָבַד אֵצֶל לָבָן אֶלָּא בְרָחֵל, וְשֶׁהָיָה זִיו אִיקוֹנִין שֶׁל יוֹסֵף דּוֹמֶה לוֹ, וְכָל מַה שֶּׁאֵרַע לְיַעֲקֹב אֵרַע לְיוֹסֵף: זֶה נִשְׂטַם וְזֶה נִשְׂטַם, זֶה אָחִיו מְבַקֵּשׁ לְהָרְגוֹ וְזֶה אֶחָיו מְבַקְּשִׁים לְהָרְגוֹ, וְכֵן הַרְבֵּה בּבְּרֵאשִׁית רַבָּה. וְעוֹד נִדְרָשׁ בּוֹ וישב, בִּקֵּשׁ יַעֲקֹב לֵישֵׁב בְּשַׁלְוָה, קָפַץ עָלָיו רָגְזוֹ שֶׁל יוֹסֵף – צַדִּיקִים מְבַקְּשִׁים לֵישֵׁב בְּשַׁלְוָה, אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לֹא דַיָּן לַצַּדִּיקִים מַה שֶּׁמְּתֻקָּן לָהֶם לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, אֶלָּא שֶׁמְּבַקְּשִׁים לֵישֵׁב בְּשַׁלְוָה בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה:
and he was a lad: He behaved childishly, fixing his hair and touching up his eyes so that he would appear handsome. [From Gen. Rabbah 84:7]   וְהוּא נַעַר: שֶׁהָיָה עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֵׂה נַעֲרוּת, מְתַקֵּן בִּשְׂעָרוֹ, מְמַשְׁמֵשׁ בְּעֵינָיו, כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה נִרְאֶה יָפֶה:
with the sons of Bilhah: That is to say, he was frequently with the sons of Bilhah, because his [other] brothers would demean them, while he acted friendly toward them. [From Tanchuma Vayeshev 7]   אֶת־בְּנֵי בִלְהָה: כְּלוֹמַר וְרָגִיל אֵצֶל בְּנֵי בִלְהָה, לְפִי שֶׁהָיוּ אֶחָיו מְבַזִּין אוֹתָן וְהוּא מְקָרְבָן:
evil tales about them: Any evil he saw in his brothers, the sons of Leah, he would tell his father: 1) that they ate limbs from living animals, 2) that they demeaned the sons of the handmaids by calling them slaves, and 3) that they were suspected of illicit sexual relationships. For these three [tales] he was punished: For [the report that his brothers ate] limbs from living animals, “they slaughtered a kid” (Gen. 37:31) when they sold him, and did not eat it alive. For the report that he told about them that they called their brothers slaves, “Joseph was sold as a slave” (Ps. 105:17), and concerning the illicit sexual relationships that he told about them, “his master’s wife lifted her eyes, etc.” (Gen. 39:7).   אֶת־דִּבָּתָם רָעָה: כָּל רָעָה שֶׁהָיָה רוֹאֶה בְאֶחָיו בְנֵי לֵאָה הָיָה מַגִּיד לְאָבִיו, שֶׁהָיוּ אוֹכְלִין אֵבֶר מִן הַחַי, וּמְזַלְזְלִין בִּבְנֵי הַשְּׁפָחוֹת לִקְרוֹתָן עֲבָדִים, וַחֲשׁוּדִים עַל הָעֲרָיוֹת, וּבִשְׁלָשְׁתָּן לָקָה: וַיִּשְׁחֲטוּ שְׂעִיר עִזִּים בִּמְכִירָתוֹ וְלֹא אֲכָלוּהוּ חַי, וְעַל דִּבָּה שֶׁסִּפֵּר עֲלֵיהֶם שֶׁקּוֹרִין לַאֲחֵיהֶם עֲבָדִים – "לְעֶבֶד נִמְכַּר יוֹסֵף", וְעַל עֲרָיוֹת שֶׁסִּפֵּר עֲלֵיהֶם, וַתִּשָּׂא אֵשֶׁת אֲדֹנָיו וְגוֹ:
tales about them: Heb. דִּבָּתָם Every expression of דִּבָּה denotes parlediz in Old French, gossip, slander. Whatever evil he could tell about them he told. דִּבָּה is an expression of making the lips of the sleeping speak (דוֹבֵב).   דִּבָּתָם: כָּל לְשׁוֹן דִּבָּה פרלדי"ץ בְּלַעַז, כָּל מַה שֶּׁהָיָה יָכוֹל לְדַבֵּר בָּהֶם רָעָה, הָיָה מְסַפֵּר:
3And Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was a son of his old age; and he made him a fine woolen coat.   גוְיִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אָהַ֤ב אֶת־יוֹסֵף֙ מִכָּל־בָּנָ֔יו כִּֽי־בֶן־זְקֻנִ֥ים ה֖וּא ל֑וֹ וְעָ֥שָׂה ל֖וֹ כְּתֹ֥נֶת פַּסִּֽים:
a son of his old age: Heb. - בֶן זְקֻנִים, for he was born to him in his old age (Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 38). Onkelos rendered: for he was a wise son to him. Whatever he had learned from Shem and Eber he gave over to him. Another explanation: for his (Joseph’s) features (זִיו אִיקוֹנִין) resembled his own (those of Jacob). [From Gen. Rabbah 84:8]   בֶן־זְקֻנִים: שֶׁנּוֹלַד לוֹ לְעֵת זִקְנָתוֹ. וְאֻנְקְלוֹס תִּרְגֵּם בַּר חַכִּים הוּא לֵהּ – כָּל מַה שֶּׁלָּמַד מִשֵּׁם וָעֵבֶר מָסַר לוֹ. דָּבָר אַחֵר, שֶׁהָיָה זִיו אִיקוֹנִין שֶׁלוֹ דּוֹמֶה לוֹ:
fine woolen: Heb. פַּסִים, a term meaning fine woolen garments, like “green wool (כַּרְפַּס) and blue wool” (Esther 1:6), and like the fine woolen coat (כְתֹנֶת פַּסִים) of Tamar and Amnon (II Sam. 13:18). The Midrash Aggadah, however, explains that it was called פַּסִים because of his (Joseph’s) troubles, namely, that he was sold to Potiphar (פּוֹטִפַר), to the merchants (סוֹחֲרִים), to the Ishmaelites (יִשְׁמְעִאלִים), and to the Midianites (מִדְיָנִים). [From Gen. Rabbah 84:8]   פַּסִּֽים: לְשׁוֹן כְּלִי מֵילָת, כְּמוֹ כַּרְפַּס וּתְכֵלֶת, וּכְמוֹ כְּתֹנֶת הַפַּסִּים דְּתָמָר וְאַמְנוֹן, וּמִדְרַשׁ אַגָּדָה עַל שֵׁם צָרוֹתָיו, שֶׁנִּמְכַּר לְפוֹטִיפַר וְלַסּוֹחֲרִים וְלַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִים וְלַמִּדְיָנִים:
4And his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, so they hated him, and they could not speak with him peacefully.   דוַיִּרְא֣וּ אֶחָ֗יו כִּֽי־אֹת֞וֹ אָהַ֤ב אֲבִיהֶם֙ מִכָּל־אֶחָ֔יו וַיִּשְׂנְא֖וּ אֹת֑וֹ וְלֹ֥א יָֽכְל֖וּ דַּבְּר֥וֹ לְשָׁלֹֽם:
and they could not speak with him peacefully: From what is stated to their discredit, we may learn something to their credit, that they did not say one thing with their mouth and think differently in their heart. [From Gen. Rabbah 84:9]   וְלֹא יָֽכְלוּ דַּבְּרוֹ לשלום: מִתּוֹךְ גְּנוּתָם לָמַדְנוּ שִׁבְחָם, שֶׁלֹּא דִבְּרוּ אַחַת בַּפֶּה וְאַחַת בַּלֵּב:
speak with him: Heb. דַבְּרוֹ, [the equivalent of] לְדַבֵּר עִמוֹ, to speak with him. [From Targum Onkelos]   דַּבְּרוֹ: לְדַבֵּר עִמּוֹ:
5And Joseph dreamed a dream and told his brothers, and they continued to hate him.   הוַיַּֽחֲלֹ֤ם יוֹסֵף֙ חֲל֔וֹם וַיַּגֵּ֖ד לְאֶחָ֑יו וַיּוֹסִ֥פוּ ע֖וֹד שְׂנֹ֥א אֹתֽוֹ:
6And he said to them, "Listen now to this dream, which I have dreamed:   ווַיֹּ֖אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶ֑ם שִׁמְעוּ־נָ֕א הַֽחֲל֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר חָלָֽמְתִּי:
7Behold, we were binding sheaves in the midst of the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright, and behold, your sheaves encircled [it] and prostrated themselves to my sheaf."   זוְהִנֵּ֠ה אֲנַ֜חְנוּ מְאַלְּמִ֤ים אֲלֻמִּים֙ בְּת֣וֹךְ הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה וְהִנֵּ֛ה קָ֥מָה אֲלֻמָּתִ֖י וְגַם־נִצָּ֑בָה וְהִנֵּ֤ה תְסֻבֶּ֨ינָה֙ אֲלֻמֹּ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם וַתִּשְׁתַּֽחֲוֶ֖יןָ לַֽאֲלֻמָּתִֽי:
binding sheaves: Heb. מְאַלְּמִים אִלֻמִים, as the Targum renders: מְאַסְרִין אֱסָרִין, sheaves, and likewise, carrying his sheaves (אִלֻמוֹתָיו) (Ps. 126:6). The same is found in the Mishnah: But [if one finds] large sheaves (וְהָאִלֻמוֹת), one must take [them] and announce [them] (Baba Mezia 22b).   מְאַלְּמִים אֲלֻמִּים: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ מְאַסְּרִין אֱסָרִין – עֳמְרִין, וְכֵן נֹשֵׂא אֲלֻמֹּתָיו (תהלים קכ"ו), וְכָמוֹהוּ בִּלְשׁוֹן מִשְׁנָה וְהָאֲלֻמּוֹת נוֹטֵל וּמַכְרִיז:
my sheaf arose: It stood erect.   קָמָה אֲלֻמָּתִי: נִזְקְפָה:
and also stood upright: It remained standing erect in its place.   וְגַם־נִצָּבָה: לַעֲמֹד עַל עָמְדָהּ בִּזְקִיפָה:
8So his brothers said to him, "Will you reign over us, or will you govern us?" And they continued further to hate him on account of his dreams and on account of his words.   חוַיֹּ֤אמְרוּ לוֹ֙ אֶחָ֔יו הֲמָלֹ֤ךְ תִּמְלֹךְ֙ עָלֵ֔ינוּ אִם־מָשׁ֥וֹל תִּמְשֹׁ֖ל בָּ֑נוּ וַיּוֹסִ֤פוּ עוֹד֙ שְׂנֹ֣א אֹת֔וֹ עַל־חֲלֹֽמֹתָ֖יו וְעַל־דְּבָרָֽיו:
and on account of his words: Because of the evil tales that he would bring to their father.   וְעַל־דְּבָרָֽיו: עַל דִּבָּתָם רָעָה שֶׁהָיָה מֵבִיא לַאֲבִיהֶם:
9And he again dreamed another dream, and he related it to his brothers, and he said, "Behold, I have dreamed another dream, and behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were prostrating themselves to me."   טוַיַּֽחֲלֹ֥ם עוֹד֙ חֲל֣וֹם אַחֵ֔ר וַיְסַפֵּ֥ר אֹת֖וֹ לְאֶחָ֑יו וַיֹּ֗אמֶר הִנֵּ֨ה חָלַ֤מְתִּי חֲלוֹם֙ ע֔וֹד וְהִנֵּ֧ה הַשֶּׁ֣מֶשׁ וְהַיָּרֵ֗חַ וְאַחַ֤ד עָשָׂר֙ כּֽוֹכָבִ֔ים מִשְׁתַּֽחֲוִ֖ים לִֽי:
10And he told [it] to his father and to his brothers, and his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have dreamed? Will we come I, your mother, and your brothers to prostrate ourselves to you to the ground?"   יוַיְסַפֵּ֣ר אֶל־אָבִיו֘ וְאֶל־אֶחָיו֒ וַיִּגְעַר־בּ֣וֹ אָבִ֔יו וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֔וֹ מָ֛ה הַֽחֲל֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר חָלָ֑מְתָּ הֲב֣וֹא נָב֗וֹא אֲנִי֙ וְאִמְּךָ֣ וְאַחֶ֔יךָ לְהִשְׁתַּֽחֲו֥‍ֹת לְךָ֖ אָֽרְצָה:
And he told [it] to his father and to his brothers: After he told it to his brothers, he told it again to his father in their presence.   וַיְסַפֵּר אֶל־אָבִיו וְאֶל־אֶחָיו: לְאַחַר שֶׁסִּפֵּר אוֹתוֹ לְאֶחָיו חָזַר וְסִפְּרוֹ לְאָבִיו בִּפְנֵיהֶם:
his father rebuked him: because he was bringing hatred upon himself.   וַיִּגְעַר־בּוֹ: לְפִי שֶׁהָיָה מֵטִיל שִׂנְאָה עָלָיו:
Will we come: Isn’t your mother (Rachel) already dead? But he (Jacob) did not know that the matters referred to Bilhah, who had raised him (Joseph) as [if she were] his mother (Gen. Rabbah 84:11). Our Rabbis, however, derived from here that there is no dream without meaningless components (Ber. 55a/b). Jacob, however, intended to make his sons forget the whole matter, so that they would not envy him (Joseph). Therefore, he said, “Will we come, etc.” Just as it is impossible for your mother, so is the rest meaningless.   הֲבוֹא נָבוֹא: וַהֲלֹא אִמְּךָ כְבָר מֵתָה, וְהוּא לֹא הָיָה יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁהַדְּבָרִים מַגִּיעִין לְבִלְהָה שֶׁגִּדְּלַתּוּ כְּאִמּוֹ. וְרַבּוֹתֵינוּ לָמְדוּ מִכָּאן שֶׁאֵין חֲלוֹם בְּלֹא דְּבָרִים בְּטֵלִים, וְיַעֲקֹב נִתְכַּוֵּן לְהוֹצִיא הַדָּבָר מִלֵּב בָּנָיו שֶׁלֹּא יַקְנִיאוּהוּ, לְכָךְ אָמַר לוֹ הֲבוֹא נָבוֹא וְגוֹ' – כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר בְּאִמְּךָ כָּךְ הַשְּׁאָר הוּא בָטֵל:
11So his brothers envied him, but his father awaited the matter.   יאוַיְקַנְאוּ־ב֖וֹ אֶחָ֑יו וְאָבִ֖יו שָׁמַ֥ר אֶת־הַדָּבָֽר:
awaited the matter: Heb. שָׁמַר. He was waiting and looking forward in expectation of when it (the fulfillment) would come. Similarly, “awaiting (שׁוֹמֵר) the realization [of God’s promise]” (Isa. 26:2), [and] “You do not wait (תִשְׁמוֹר) for my sin” (Job 14:16). You do not wait. [From Gen. Rabbah 84:12]   שָׁמַר אֶת־הַדָּבָֽר: הָיָה מַמְתִּין וּמְצַפֶּה מָתַי יָבֹא, וְכֵן שֹׁמֵר אֱמֻנִים (ישעיהו כ"ו), וְכֵן לֹא תִשְׁמֹר עַל חַטָּאתִי (איוב י"ד) – לֹא תַמְתִּין: