Vayeshev, Vayeishev, or Vayesheb (וישב — Hebrew for “and he lived,” the first word of the parshah) is the ninth weekly Torah portion ("parshah") in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. It constitutes Genesis [ 37:1–40:23.] Jews in the Diaspora read it the ninth Sabbath after Simchat Torah, generally in December.


Joseph the dreamer

Jacob lived in the land of Canaan, and this is his family’s story. () And Joseph made his brothers hate him more when he told them that he dreamed that they were binding sheaves in the field, and their sheaves bowed down to his sheaf. () When Reuben returned to the pit and Joseph was gone, he rent his clothes and asked his brothers where he could go now. () All his sons and daughters tried in vain to comfort him. () Judah married the daughter of a Canaanite named Shua and had three sons named Er, Onan, and Shelah. () But Onan knew that the children would not be counted as his, so he spilled his seed, and God killed him as well. () When Tamar learned that Judah had gone to Timnah, she took off her widow’s garments and put on a veil and sat on the road to Timnah, for she saw that Shelah had grown up and Judah had not given her to be his wife. () When Hirah reported to Judah that the men of the place said that there had been no harlot there, Judah put the matter to rest so as not to be put to shame. () Judah acknowledged them and said that she was more righteous than he, inasmuch as he had failed to give her to Shelah. () When Potiphar saw that God was with Joseph and prospered all that he did, Potiphar appointed him overseer over his house and gave him charge of all that he had, and God blessed Pharaoh’s house for Joseph’s sake. () When Potiphar came home, she accused Joseph of trying to force himself on her, and Potiphar put Joseph in the prison where the king’s prisoners were held. () One night, the butler and the baker each dreamed a dream. () The butler told Joseph that he dreamt that he saw a vine with three branches blossom and bring forth grapes, which he took and pressed into Pharaoh’s cup, which he gave to Pharaoh. () When the baker saw that the interpretation of the butler’s dream was good, he told Joseph his dream: He saw three baskets of white bread on his head, and the birds ate them out of the basket. () But the butler forgot about Joseph. ( “And Israel abode in Shittim” is followed by “and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.” In “And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen,” is followed by “And the Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was the king’s seed in Edom.” (Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 106a.)

Rabbi Helbo quoted Rabbi Jonathan to teach that the words of ) So she cried about her fate until her eyelashes fell out. This accounts for the words of ) their ancestors had sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for 20 shekels. (Genesis Rabbah 84:18.)

Genesis chapter 38

The Mishnah taught that notwithstanding its mature content, in the synagogue, Jews read and translated Tamar’s story in that before Joseph arrived, Potiphar’s house had not received a blessing, and that it was because of Joseph’s arrival that Potiphar’s house was blessed thereafter. (Tosefta Sotah 10:8.)


According to Maimonides and Sefer ha-Chinuch, there are no commandments in the parshah. (Maimonides. "Mishneh Torah". Cairo, Egypt, 1170–1180. Reprinted in Maimonides. "The Commandments: Sefer Ha-Mitzvoth of Maimonides". Translated by Charles B. Chavel, 2 vols. London: Soncino Press, 1967. ISBN 0-900689-71-4. "Sefer HaHinnuch: The Book of [Mitzvah] Education". Translated by Charles Wengrov, 1:91. Jerusalem: Feldheim Pub., 1991. ISBN 0-87306-179-9.)


The haftarah for the parshah is Amos [ 2:6–3:8.]

Further reading

The parshah is cited or discussed in these sources:


* [ “The Story of Two Brothers.”] Egypt, circa 1225 B.C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., James B. Pritchard. "Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament", 23–25. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969. ISBN 0-691-03503-2.
*Homer. "The Iliad" (Bellerophon accused of rape); (Phoenix and father’s concubine). Greece, 8th–6th Century B.C.E.


*Deuteronomy [ 25:5–10] (levirate marriage).
*2 Samuel [ 11:2–12:13] (admission of sexual sin); [ 13:18] (garment of many colors).
*Jeremiah [ 31:14 in 1917 JPS;] 31:15 in NJPS (refusal to be comforted for lost son of Rachel); [ 39:6–13] (thrown into a pit).
*Daniel [ 2:1–49;] [ 4:1–5:31] (interpreting dreams).

Early nonrabbinic

*Philo. [ "On the Unchangeableness of God"] 25:119. Alexandria, Egypt, early 1st Century C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., "The Works of Philo: Complete and Unabridged, New Updated Edition". Translated by Charles Duke Yonge, 168. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Pub., 1993. ISBN 0-943575-93-1.
*Josephus. "Antiquities" 2:2:1–2:5:3. Circa 93–94. Reprinted in, e.g., "The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged, New Updated Edition". Translated by William Whiston, 52–57. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Pub., 1987. ISBN 0-913573-86-8.
*Qur'an: Arabia, 7th Century.

Classical rabbinic

*Mishnah Megillah [ 4:10] . Land of Israel, circa 200 C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., "The Mishnah: A New Translation". Translated by Jacob Neusner, 323. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-300-05022-4.
*Tosefta: Berakhot 4:16, 18; Sanhedrin 1:3; Sotah 6:6, 9:3, 10:8; Niddah 1:7. Land of Israel, circa 300 C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., "The Tosefta: Translated from the Hebrew, with a New Introduction". Translated by Jacob Neusner. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Pub., 2002. ISBN 1-56563-642-2.
*Jerusalem Talmud Peah 8a. Land of Israel, circa 400 C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., "Talmud Yerushalmi". Edited by Chaim Malinowitz, Yisroel Simcha Schorr, and Mordechai Marcus, vol. 3. Brooklyn: Mesorah Pubs., 2006.
*Babylonian Talmud: Berakhot 7b, 34b, 43b, 55a; Shabbat 22a, 49b; Pesachim 50a; Yoma 35b; Megillah 10b, 22b; Chagigah 3a; Yevamot 34b, 59a; Ketubot 67b; Nazir 23a, 23b; Sotah 3b, 7b, 9a, 10a, 10b, 11a, 13b, 36b, 43a; Baba Kama 92a; Baba Metzia 59a, 117a; Baba Batra 109b, 123a; Sanhedrin 6b, 19b, 52b, 102a, 106a; Shevuot 16b; Makkot 9a,10a, 23b; Avodah Zarah 5a, 36b; Horayot 10b; Zevachim 88b; Chullin 92a, 113a; Arachin 15b, 16a; Niddah 8b, 13a, 13b, 28a. Babylonia, 6th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., "Talmud Bavli". Edited by Yisroel Simcha Schorr, Chaim Malinowitz, and Mordechai Marcus, 72 vols. Brooklyn: Mesorah Pubs., 2006.


*Rashi. "Commentary". [ Genesis 37–40.] Troyes, France, late 11th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., Rashi. "The Torah: With Rashi’s Commentary Translated, Annotated, and Elucidated". Translated and annotated by Yisrael Isser Zvi Herczeg, 1:409–46. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1995. ISBN 0-89906-026-9.
*Zohar [ 1:179a–193a.] Spain, late 13th Century. Reprinted in, e.g, "The Zohar". Translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simon. 5 vols. London: Soncino Press, 1934.
*Jami. "". Persia, 15th Century. In, e.g., "Joseph and Zuleika". Translated by Charles F. Horne. Kessinger Pub., 2005. ISBN 1-4253-2805-9.


*Thomas Hobbes. "Leviathan", England, 1651. Reprint edited by C. B. Macpherson, 454. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Classics, 1982. ISBN 0140431950.
*Moshe Chaim Luzzatto "Mesillat Yesharim", [ ch. 4] . Amsterdam, 1740. Reprinted in "Mesillat Yesharim: The Path of the Just", 55. Jerusalem: Feldheim, 1966. ISBN 0-87306-114-4.
*Irving Fineman. "Jacob, An Autobiograhical Novel". New York: Random House, 1941.
*Thomas Mann. "Joseph and His Brothers". Translated by John E. Woods, 14–15, 17–18, 36–37, 43–92, 130, 257, 269-71, 274–75, 303-04, 309, 315–1107, 1254–86. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. ISBN 1-4000-4001-9. Originally published as "Joseph und seine Brüder". Stockholm: Bermann-Fischer Verlag, 1943.
*A. M. Klein. “Joseph.” Canada, 1944. Reprinted in "The Collected Poems of A.M. Klein", 11. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1974. ISBN 0-07-077625-3.
*Elie Wiesel. “Joseph, or the Education of a "Tzaddik".” In "Messengers of God: Biblical Portraits & Legends", 139–73. New York: Random House, 1976. ISBN 0-394-49740-6.
*Francine Rivers. "Unveiled: Tamar". Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 2000. ISBN 0-8423-1947-6.

External links


* [ Masoretic text and 1917 JPS translation]
* [ Hear the parshah chanted]


* [ Commentaries] from the Jewish Theological Seminary
* [ Commentaries] from the University of Judaism
* [ Torah Sparks] from the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
* [ Commentaries] from the Orthodox Union
* [ Commentaries] from the Academy for Jewish Religion
* [ Commentaries] from
* [ Commentaries] and [ Family Shabbat Table Talk] from the Union for Reform Judaism
* [ Commentaries] from Reconstructionist Judaism
* [ Commentaries] from []
* [ Commentaries] from []
* [ Commentaries] from []
* [ Commentaries] from [ Torah from Dixie]
* [ Commentary] from [ Ohr Sameach]
* [ Commentaries] from []
* [ Commentaries] and [ Shabbat Table Talk] from [ The Sephardic Institute]
* [ Commentaries] from [ Parshah Parts]
* [ Commentary] from [ Anshe Emes Synagogue, Los Angeles]
* [ Torah Sermon] and [ Torah Tidbits] from [ Ohev Sholom Talmud Torah]

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