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Parashat Vayeshev / פרשת וישב

Crop of Children of Jacob Sell His Brother Joseph by Konstantin Flavitsky


Parashat Vayeshev is the ninth weekly reading in the annual Torah reading cycle, and the ninth reading of Bereshit (“Genesis”). Vayeshev (וַיֵּשֶׁב) is Hebrew for And He Lived and is the first word of the parashah, which begins by saying that Ya’akov (Jacob) lived in Kena’an (Canaan), the land of his father’s sojournings.

The parashah continues with the account Yosef (Joseph), the son of Ya’akov’s old age, and the trials which he patiently endured, holding fast to HaShem in faith. The parashah recounts how his brothers hated him and why, how he came to be sold into Mitzrayim (Egypt) as a slave.

Following this is an interlude about Yehudah (Judah), the brother of Yosef, and how HaShem put two of his three sons to death because they were wicked. The parashah explains how Yehudah nevertheless came to have an ancestral line leading to the Messiah, yet not through his third son.

Parashat Vayeshev continues with Yosef in Mitzrayim, having been sold to an official of Pharaoh. HaShem is with Yosef in Mitzrayim, however, and he is put in charge over all that belongs to his master. HaShem therefore blesses his master and all that he has, yet HaShem has even greater things in store for Yosef. First, however, Yosef is thrown in prison in his innocence on false accusations, and the parashah explains why.

The parashah concludes with a record of Yosef’s time in prison, and the favour of HaShem which is upon him even there. Yosef is eventually joined there by the Chief Cup-Bearer and Chief Baker of the king of Mitzrayim, who have offended the king. Both have prophetic dreams one night while in prison, which Yosef is able to interpret successfully. The parashah records the details.

Torah Portion: Genesis 37:1 – 40:23

1st Aliyah: Genesis 37:1-11 (11 verses)
2rd Aliyah: Genesis 37:12-22 (11 verses)
3rd Aliyah: Genesis 37:23-36 (14 verses)
4th Aliyah: Genesis 38:1-30 (30 verses)
5th Aliyah: Genesis 39:1-6 (6 verses)
6th Aliyah: Genesis 39:7-23 (17 verses)
7th Aliyah: Genesis 40:1-23 (23 verses)
Maftir: Genesis 40:20-23 (4 verses)

Special Maftir
On Shabbat Chanukah, Day 2: Numbers 7:18-29

Reading from the Nevi’im (Prophets):
Amos 2:6 – 3:8

When Parashat Vayeshev coincides with a special Shabbat, a different passage of the Prophets is traditionally read:

Shabbat Chanukah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7

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