Commentary - Year 1 Sabbath 34

Genesis 37:1-36   -   Jeremiah 38:7-10   -   Psalm 30   -   John 19:1-20:10

Kislev        2, 5762 / Nov 17, 2001

Heshvan 29, 5765 / Nov 13, 2004 

Heshvan 29, 5768 / Nov 10, 2007

Heshvan 29, 5771 / Nov   6, 2010

Heshvan 29, 5774 / Nov   2, 2013

Kislev      3, 5777 / Dec   3, 2016

Kislev      2, 5780 / Nov 30, 2019


Vayeishev / He Dwelt   SCRIPTURES should be read first  


We start this chapter with grandfather Isaac at 168, father Jacob at 108, and Joseph at 17 years old. Leah died around this time.

In chapter 36 we saw a brief story of Esau. Esau’s descendants intermarried with Ishmael’s descendants. Esau produced twelve princes before Jacob produced one; these princes dwelt as masters in the land of their (eternal) possession (v.43).


Now we will see an expansive chronicle of Jacob and his descendants.


(V.1) Jacob settled in The Land where his father had sojourned. The Midrash relates: “HaSatan says, ‘Are the righteous not satisfied with what is stored up for them in the world to come, that they expect to live at ease in This World too?’ ” This world is for us to grow to maturity in Yeshua; the wicked have their good here.

Jacob is only 108 years old here, having two living wives and thirteen children. He should want to settle down?? But a situation concerning his son Joseph, and a famine, would keep him unsettled.


(V.2) “These are the records of the generations of Jacob: Joseph  . . .” Though Jacob has ten older sons and one younger, only seventeen-year-old Joseph is mentioned.

Why would Jacob so favor one son? Why would Joseph flaunt his dreams? Why would the brothers become so jealous as to try to kill him?

Jacob worked for Laban only for the sake of marrying Rachel, who finally bore him Joseph: Joseph could be considered Jacob’s intended firstborn. Twenty-three (Midrash) major things that happened to Jacob also happened to Joseph: they were both hated, they both had a brother/brothers who tried to kill them, etc.

(V.3) “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was the son of his old age” – a reference to wisdom: Joseph was the foremost scholar among his brothers (Onkelos); he was within a year of age of his next brother.

Jacob/Israel wanted to “see Joseph’s face” before he died: that is recorded repeatedly. Only by seeing his face could Jacob perceive his soul – whether Joseph was of character to carry on his father’s purpose in life.

Only Joseph would be granted the status of two tribes – Ephraim and Manessah.

Jacob gave Joseph a fine wool garment as would be suitable for members of a royal family (See 2 Samuel 13:18). Such were long-sleeved garments that reached the feet, worn by those who were not expected to perform manual labor.


Abraham symbolized charity, Jacob’s attribute was truth (splendor), and Joseph’s was brit shalom / the covenant of peace.


Abraham’s character of charity was tried, ultimately in the order to sacrifice his only son. Herein we see the type of our Heavenly Father, in charity offering His only Son.


Joseph’s character of peace was tried: his brothers could not even speak to him peaceably (v.4). He would provide for his brothers, even after they sought to kill him. And herein we see the type of Yeshua, providing for those who sought to kill Him.


(V.10) Joseph related his second dream to his father and brothers. His fathersaid to him, “What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?” The explanation is found in reading this verse backwards: for Rachel (his mother) was dead!


Israel’s kingship belonged to Judah, and the priesthood to Levi. If Joseph tried to usurp either position, he would be liable to death penalty. The brothers, rationalizing their jealousy, sat as a court to condemn him to death. After putting Joseph in a pit, they comfortably sat down to eat (v.25).


The older brothers conspired to do away with Joseph (though Reuben, the eldest, who would have had to take responsibility before his father, sought to thwart the plan). Even upon seeing Joseph ruling Egypt, they did not repent of their judgment, only their actions in selling him.


But, Joseph was to rule them in Egypt, not in Israel. Yeshua, as Messiah ben Yoseph (son of Joseph), is our suffering servant (Isaiah 53:11) who provides for us here; Yeshua, as Messiah ben David (David ben Yehudah – son of Judah), will reign as King over the Promised Land.


Joseph, speaking to his brothers in Pharaoh’s court, referred to Jacob as “my father, not “our father.” Yeshua did likewise (Matthew 7:21).


Joseph related prophetic dreams to an unwilling audience of his brothers. How will we feel when Yeshua is revealed to us, if we were unwilling to heed His prophetic words?


Can you imagine those who regularly attended synagogue, hearing this Torah, Haftarah and Psalm on one Sabbath, then seeing Yeshua’s ordeal? We are in a position to see it more fully: how shall we respond?


God showed His great charity toward us in providing salvation for us – when we hated Him. God gives each of us provision for our assigned task: how do we fulfill our promising obligation to a rewarding God; how much do consume it upon our own selfish desires?


Here we may build and buy houses in which to dwell for a short time; but we all are building eternal houses (1 Cor 3:12). What kind of house do we want for eternity? Are we building with lasting materials? How much will be lost to fire? Can we be satisfied with storing up for ourselves in the world to come, or must we expect to live at ease in This World too?

. . .


When firstborn Reuben “disarranged his father’s bed,” Jacob transferred the birthright to Joseph – who was his eleventh son, but his intended first in the sense that he was the firstborn of his only intended wife Rachael.

Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (for he was the firstborn, but because he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel; so that he is not enrolled in the genealogy according to the birthright” – 1 Chronicles 5:1.


Although the descent of Israel into bondage in Egypt was foretold to Abraham, it came to pass because of the jealousy that ten brothers had toward Joseph. And this jealousy was a result of Abraham showing favoritism to one of his sons. On this basis, the sages proclaimed, “A man should never single out one child among his other sons . . .” (Shabbos 10b). However, they note that God Himself openly proclaims His love for Jacob and His hatred for Esau (Zohar).


God’s prophecies are fulfilled, though sometimes through the sinful acts of men. This is later certified by Joseph, who said to his brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” – Genesis 50:20.


Joseph fell because of a dream – his brothers hated him for it, and he was exalted because of a dream – the Pharaoh’s dream which he interpreted.


Joseph’s first dream, of his brothers’ sheaves bowing to his sheaves, applied only to his brothers. They fulfilled the dream when they came to Egypt where Joseph ruled.


Joseph’s second dream, of the sun and moon and eleven stars bowing to him, represented his father and mother and brothers. But his mother was no longer alive! This is seen as messianic: they will all bow to Yeshua – Messiah ben (son of) Joseph!


Hatred of someone close is generally coupled with jealousy. While Joseph’s brothers formerly felt superior to their younger sibling, they hated him because of their father’s favoritism. Now that they heard that Joseph was destined to rule over them, they were jealous of him as of one who was a peer and was to surpass them.



"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who chose us from among all peoples by giving us Your Torah.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."


Reader 1*  Amen. 1 Now Jacob lived in the land where his father had sojourned, in the land of Canaan. 2 These are the records of the generations of Jacob. Joseph, when seventeen years of age, was pasturing the flock with his brothers while he was still a youth, along with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives. And Joseph brought back a bad report about them to their father. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a varicolored tunic. 4 His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers; and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms.

Reader 2*  Amen. 5 Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, "Please listen to this dream which I have had; 7 for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf rose up and also stood erect; and behold, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf." 8 Then his brothers said to him, "Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?" So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.

Reader 3*  Amen. 9 Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, "Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me." 10 He related it to his father and to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?" 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.

Reader 4*  Amen. 12 Then his brothers went to pasture their father's flock in Shechem. 13 Israel said to Joseph, "Are not your brothers pasturing the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them." And he said to him, "I will go." 14 Then he said to him, "Go now and see about the welfare of your brothers and the welfare of the flock, and bring word back to me." So he sent him from the valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. 15 A man found him, and behold, he was wandering in the field; and the man asked him, "What are you looking for?" 16 He said, "I am looking for my brothers; please tell me where they are pasturing the flock." 17 Then the man said, "They have moved from here; for I heard them say, 'Let us go to Dothan.'" So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.

Reader 5*  Amen. 18 When they saw him from a distance and before he came close to them, they plotted against him to put him to death. 19 They said to one another, "Here comes this dreamer! 20 "Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we will say, 'A wild beast devoured him.' Then let us see what will become of his dreams!" 21 But Reuben heard this and rescued him out of their hands and said, "Let us not take his life." 22 Reuben further said to them, "Shed no blood. Throw him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but do not lay hands on him"-- that he might rescue him out of their hands, to restore him to his father.

Reader 6*  Amen. 23 So it came about, when Joseph reached his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the varicolored tunic that was on him; 24 and they took him and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty, without any water in it. 25 Then they sat down to eat a meal. And as they raised their eyes and looked, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing aromatic gum and balm and myrrh, on their way to bring them down to Egypt. 26 Judah said to his brothers, "What profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 "Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh." And his brothers listened to him. 28 Then some Midianite traders passed by, so they pulled him up and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. Thus they brought Joseph into Egypt.

Reader 7*  Amen. 29 Now Reuben returned to the pit, and behold, Joseph was not in the pit; so he tore his garments. 30 He returned to his brothers and said, "The boy is not there; as for me, where am I to go?" 31 So they took Joseph's tunic, and slaughtered a male goat and dipped the tunic in the blood; 32 and they sent the varicolored tunic and brought it to their father and said, "We found this; please examine it to see whether it is your son's tunic or not." 33 Then he examined it and said, "It is my son's tunic. A wild beast has devoured him; Joseph has surely been torn to pieces!" 34 So Jacob tore his clothes, and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. 35 Then all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. And he said, "Surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son." So his father wept for him. 36 Meanwhile, the Midianites sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, Pharaoh's officer, the captain of the bodyguard.


Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."



"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who selected good prophets, delighting in their words which were spoken truthfully.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,

and the prophets of truth and righteousness."


Jeremiah 38:7

Reader 8*  Amen. 7 But Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch, while he was in the king's palace, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern. Now the king was sitting in the Gate of Benjamin; 8 and Ebed-melech went out from the king's palace and spoke to the king, saying, 9 "My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet whom they have cast into the cistern; and he will die right where he is because of the famine, for there is no more bread in the city." 10 Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, "Take thirty men from here under your authority and bring up Jeremiah the prophet from the cistern before he dies."


Psalm 30     A Psalm; a Song at the Dedication of the House. A Psalm of David.

1 I will extol You, O Yahweh, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my enemies rejoice over me. 2 O Yahweh my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me. 3 O Yahweh, You have brought up my soul from Sheol; You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit. 4 Sing praise to Yahweh, you His godly ones, and give thanks to His holy name. 5 For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning. 6 Now as for me, I said in my prosperity, "I will never be moved." 7 O Yahweh, by Your favor You have made my mountain to stand strong; You hid Your face, I was dismayed. 8 To You, O Yahweh, I called, and to the Lord I made supplication: 9 "What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your faithfulness? 10 "Hear, O Yahweh, and be gracious to me; O Yahweh, be my helper." 11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, 12 that my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Yahweh my God, I will give thanks to You forever.


John 19:1 – 20:10

Reader 9*  Amen. 1 Pilate then took Yeshua and scourged Him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; 3 and they began to come up to Him and say, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and to give Him slaps in the face. 4 Pilate came out again and said to them, "Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him." 5 Yeshua then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, "Behold, the Man!" 6 So when the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out saying, "Crucify, crucify!" Pilate said to them, "Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him." 7 The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God."

Reader 10*  Amen. 8 Therefore when Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid; 9 and he entered into the Praetorium again and said to Yeshua, "Where are You from?" But Yeshua gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to Him, "You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?" 11 Yeshua answered, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin." 12 As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, "If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar." 13 Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Yeshua out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.

Reader 11*  Amen. 14 Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold, your King!" 15 So they cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." 16 So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified. 17 They took Yeshua, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. 18 There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Yeshua in between.

Reader 12*  Amen. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, "YESHUA THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS." 20 Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Yeshua was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews'; but that He said, 'I am King of the Jews.'" 22 Pilate answered, "What I have written I have written." 23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Yeshua, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. 24 So they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be"; this was to fulfill the Scripture: "THEY DIVIDED MY OUTER GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CAST LOTS." 25 Therefore the soldiers did these things.

Reader 13*  Amen. But standing by the cross of Yeshua were His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Yeshua then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" 27 Then He said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" From that hour the disciple took her into his own household. 28 After this, Yeshua, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, "I am thirsty." 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. 30 Therefore when Yeshua had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

Reader 14*  Amen. 31 Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him; 33 but coming to Yeshua, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35 And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. 36 For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, "NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN." 37 And again another Scripture says, "THEY SHALL LOOK ON HIM WHOM THEY PIERCED."

Reader 15*  Amen. 38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Yeshua, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Yeshua; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. 39 Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. 40 So they took the body of Yeshua and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Yeshua there.

Reader 16*  Amen. 20:1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Yeshua loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him." 3 So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. 4 The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; 5 and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. 6 And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 So the disciples went away again to their own homes.


"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Rock of Ages, righteous throughout all generations.

You are the faithful God, promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,

for all Your words are true and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."

© 2004  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)