Mikeitz 5774-2013

"What’s in a Name? Zaphenath-Paneach"

While it is necessary for Pharaoh to add to Joseph’s public stature by dressing him as a noble Egyptian, why was it necessary for Pharaoh to rename Joseph?

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Vayeishev 5770-2009

"Joseph in Prison: The Commentators Fill in the Details"

Except for interpreting the dreams of the royal butler and the baker, the period of Joseph's imprisonment is described in the biblical text only briefly. The commentators, however, fill in the gaps, weaving a colorful tapestry of Joseph's stay in prison and the challenges that he continued to face daily from the wiley Mrs. Potiphar.

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Vayishlach 5770-2009

"The Rape of Dinah: Impossible to Fathom!""

Shortly after arriving in the city of Shechem, Dinah, Jacob's daughter, goes out to see the girls of the land and is brutally abducted and raped by the leader of the city, whose name is Shechem. Can the rape of Dinah be explained in any way?

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Mikeitz-Chanukah 5764-2003

"Chanukah--The Struggle of Joseph and Judah"

Clothed in his coat of many colors, Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and eventually sold to Egypt. His subsequent involvement in Egyptian society is contrasted by Judah's purist, more conventional philosophy. These two viewpoints are echoed in the struggle of Chanukah, as Jews throughout the ages question how much to participate in the culture of the day.

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Vayigash 5763-2002

"Joseph Reveals Himself to His Brothers: The Triumph of Jewish Identity"

Although Joseph remains thoroughly committed to G-d and to monotheism, he seems to be rather ambivalent about his own "Jewish identity." As soon as Joseph is summoned to Pharaoh, he shaves and changes his clothes. After he successfully interprets Pharaoh's dreams, he is dressed in garments of fine linen and has a gold chain placed around his neck. Pharaoh then gives him an Egyptian name, Tzofnat Panayach, and Osnat, the daughter of Potiphera, the High Priest of On, as a wife. Joseph even gives his children names that are critical of his previous life in Canaan and extol life in Egypt. In the end, however, Joseph re-embraces his identity--a true triumph of Joseph's inner spirit.

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Mikeitz 5762-2001

"A Dysfunctional Family becomes Functional"

The saga of Joseph and his family is fundamentally the story of an immature young man who must outgrow his narcissism and self-absorption. It is the story of the assimilationist, Joseph, who shaves off his beard, changes his clothes, is given an Egyptian name and an Egyptian wife. But in the end, Joseph stands up and declares: "I am Joseph, I'm not an Egyptian, I'm not an assimilator. Is my father still alive?" He answers with a resounding, "Yes, my father is alive. I am Joseph."

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