Jacob, like all of us, and certainly like all of our ancestors in the
Torah, is a flawed character. He, like us, does the best that he can.
And yet, we in the modern world, are often left wondering what he was thinking when it came to parenting his children.
This week’s Torah portion, Vayeishev, includes not only Joseph’s sharing of his dreams – which does not win him any points with his brothers, but also that time he went to spy on them when they were pasturing their flock. What does this have to do with Jacob? It is Joseph’s father who sends him on the mission: “Go and see how your brothers are and how the flocks are faring, and bring me back word.” (Genesis 37:14).
Why would Jacob encourage Joseph seeing himself as being in a position of power over his brothers, or at the very least, separate and apart from them? How would this help bring the family together? (more…)