Vayeishev (Gen. 37:1-40:23)

Jacob is now home, expecting, finally, a peaceful life.  Such is not to be.  We are immediately immersed in the story of Joseph, Rachel’s firstborn.  Joseph, at 17, is handsome (probably resembles Rachel) and intelligent.  Doting father Jacob understands clearly destined to be more than a shepherd and designates him as the future head of the family by giving him a fine coat (which may or may not have been multicolored, depending on translator).  Joseph’s subsequent dreams about his brothers’ sheaves of grain bowing to his and the sun, moon and stars bowing down to him signal to Jacob that his choice is correct, but they also add fuel to the growing enmity between Joseph and his older brothers.  And you know the rest: Joseph goes out to his brothers; Reuven convinces them not to kill him but leave him in a pit and then fails to effect a rescue; Judah, starting to exert his future leadership role, convinces the others to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites (according to Rashi, the Ishmaelites then sell him to the Midianites, thence to Egyptians); Joseph shines as a slave but then is imprisoned on a fake rape charge by his master’s lustful wife; in prison, Joseph again shines, as much as a prisoner can, and correctly interprets the dreams of the royal wine steward (he’ll be spared) and royal baker (he won’t be).  The portion ends with the restored wine steward forgetting that Joseph had asked for his help.

During this portion and the next few, we see a gifted teenager mature amid great adversity.  Joseph’s gifts are often two-edged swords.  His good lucks help endear him to his father but later land him in prison.  His intelligence and initiative help him deal with the trouble that his intelligence and initiative get him into.  He is capable of supervising some of his brothers (leadership training), but his reports to Jacob increase their hatred.  He clearly merits his heightened status, but that separates him even more from his brothers.  His dreams get him into hot water at home, nearly costing him his life, but his ability to interpret the dreams of others eventually gets him released from prison and save countless lives, as we’ll see in next week’s portion.

Chanukah starts tomorrow night (Saturday), and I’ll include some comments and jokes about it next time.  Fittingly, the Delaware Valley Chorale will be performing Handel’s oratorio, Judas Maccabeus, that night.  For more information, see .  
Shabbat shalom and Chanukah sameach,

Definition of a Teenager (I’ve sent this out before, but I still get a kick out of it)
Teenager (noun)

1) A mammal found extensively throughout the planet, often clustered in groups in front of television sets. Thought to be a member of Homo sapiens due to physical similarities, though social and emotional behavior leads many researchers to consider Teenagers to be a completely different species altogether. Very territorial.

Teenagers are extraordinarily social animals, seeking contact with their peer groups to such a great extent they will forgo family, chores, food, and responsibility.

The males of the species forage for food constantly and can consume three times their weight every day. When in full plumage, the males are usually drab, marked by loose fitting garments which look ridiculous.

The females, on the other hand, sport striking colors under their eyes, throughout their hair, and on the tips of their fingers. Females often attract males by wearing garments to accentuate development.

Males indicate their approval by staring at the display. The call of the female is complex and shrill: “Like, O m’Gosh! O m’ Gosh!”

Males are less vocal, signaling to other males with a salutatory “Yo. Yo.Yo. S’up? S’up? S’up?”

Teenagers line their nests with discarded undergarments. The females hold telephone receivers to their ears an average of six hours a day. When challenged for possession, they snarl and warn intruders, “I’m doing my HOMEWORK. My HOMEWORK. My HOMEWORK.”

The males lie immobile for hours at a time, conserving energy and listening to violent electronic signals from radios.

Male Teenagers concentrate on important information by rolling their eyes, shrugging, kicking dirt and sighing. Females burst into tears and slam doors.

Many Homo Sapiens families have a host-to-parasite relationship with one or more than one Teenager. These host families often develop a resistance to the parasite, rejecting them some time in the eighteenth year of life.

Often, though, this rejection is merely theoretical, with the Teenager continuing to live off of the host Homo Sapiens family for many years afterward, often at great sacrifice.

2) Of, relating to, and especially EXPLAINING irrational, intolerable, or inexplicable behavior. (“She’s a Teenager.”)

3) A request for sympathy, offered by adult parents to each other in support. (“I have a Teenager at home.”) Often accompanied by sighs, head shaking, tongue clucking, and shoulder shrugging.


Twenty* Dreams Interpreted

By Roz Warren, posted January 26, 2012

 *I count 23. so 13 now, the rest for next week’s Torah portion

A dream about eating corn on the cob symbolizes a deep desire to floss.

Winged Horse
Dreaming about a winged horse means you’re tired of your commute.

A dream about Elvis indicates that you’re old enough for an AARP membership.

George Clooney
A dream about George Clooney is so common as to be meaningless.

A dream about shrubbery symbolizes that your husband was a lot more fun to kiss before he grew that moustache.

A dream encounter with a kangaroo means it’s time to renew your zoo membership.

Being Asleep
A dream about being asleep is redundant.

Dreaming about a librarian means that although you think you returned all your library books, one actually fell out of your tote bag and is still sitting in your trunk, accruing overdue fines.

A lightning strike in a dream is an indication that you’d like to kill your boss.

Squashed Ant
A dream in which an ant gets squashed means that your boss would like to kill you.

A dream about eyelashes means that you read too many fashion magazines.

A dream about Kardashians means that the world is going to hell in a hand basket.

A dream about entrails means that you’d better not forget your mother-in-law’s upcoming birthday.

  tph roz warren on dreamsRoz Warren writes for The New York Times and The Funny Times. Her work also appears in Good Housekeeping, The Christian Science Monitor and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Visit her website:


Bill Gates

A new man is brought into Prison Cell 102. Already there is a long-time resident who looks 100 years old. The new man looks at the old-timer inquiringly.
The old-timer says: “Look at me. I’m old and worn out. You’d never believe that I used to live the life of Bill Gates. I wintered on the Riviera, had a boat, four fine cars, the most beautiful women, and I ate in all the best restaurants of France.”
The new man asked: “And… what happened?”
“One day Bill Gates reported his credit cards missing!”

Getting Out

Prisoner: “Look here, doctor! You’ve already removed my spleen, tonsils, adenoids, and one of my kidneys. I only came to see if you could get me out of this place!”
Doctor: “I am… bit by bit!”

Puns about Food (Bakers and Cooks)

1. A baker stopped making donuts after he got tired of the hole thing.
2. The cannibal’s cookbook titled ‘How to Better Serve your Fellow Man’ was written by a guy who had a wife and ate kids.
3. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.
4. A lawyer-turned-cook is a sue chef.

Adele – Bohemia, NY

5. Stir-fry cooks come from all woks of life.

Matt – Austin, TX

6. Bakers earn the majority of their income in the morning, they earn most of their dough at yeast by a leaven o’clock.

emelvee – North Carolina

7. A good baker will rise to the occasion, it’s the yeast he can do.
8. When asked about rumors that he owned a bakery, Shakespeare replied, ‘It’s much a-dough about muffin.’

Beakybird – Illinois, USA

9. The chef took some cheese and made some grate things.
10. When baking dog biscuits, be sure to use collie flour.

Bob – Corvallis, OR


tph wine bearcartoon


A computer message we can relate to:

tph windows wine

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