Fixing Family

3 parts to Bereshit: before Avraham (prehistory), the avot/imahot, and vayeshev-end. Beginning with Vayeshev Yaakov isn't the main character.

The Rav: ביקש יעקב לשבת בשלווה - Yaakov thought the 4 generations were up, he had been oppressed by Lavan and left with great wealth.

The pasuk "Eleh Toldot Yakov - Yosef" changes the status of Yosef. It includes a lot of information. When the Torah describes Yosef relationship with the children of Bilhah and Zilpah, it refers to them as his father's wives, he sees their children as equals. When the Torah describes Reuven's error, Bilha is described as Yaakov's concubine.

After Yosef's dreams, the brothers go to shepherd their flocks and Yaakov sends Yosef to shepherd his brothers. Yosef is different than his brothers and is an extension of Yaakov.

Yosef is always a long-term thinker, understands how things are going to work out. Reuven tries to push the בני פילגשים out whereas Yosef tries to pull them closer. In his dreams the brothers are all equals. It is only at this point in Sefer Bereshit that the brothers start to view themselves as all equal.

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Delivered at the OU Israel Center, November 29th, 2018 (21 Kislev 5779)