Torah Study Date
Saturday, May 14, 2022
Bereishit (Genesis) 39:19-40:5
Saturday, May 21, 2022
Starting at Genesis 36:6
Last week we discussed Joseph’s lord getting angry when his wife said Joseph had assaulted her but that the text does not say at whom or what the anger was directed (was he angry with Joseph? was he angry at his wife? some evidence of the latter is that he imprisoned Joseph rather than having him killed), that Joseph was put in the prison (but was it the king’s prison or simply the prison in which the king’s prisoners were kept?) and that YHVH was still with Joseph in prison, extended kindness to him and gave him favor in the eyes of the prison warden (similar to YHVH being with him in Potiphar’s house), that the warden put all the prisoners in Joseph’s hand, that Joseph was in charge of all the things done in the prison and that the warden did not see anything of what went on because YHVH was with Joseph and made everything he did successful (just as Potiphar did not see what was going on in his house because he turned everything over to Joseph due to YHVH being with him).
After these things, the drink-steward and the baker of the king of Egypt sinned against him (we wondered what they did) and Pharaoh got angry at the chief of the drink-stewards and the chief of the bakers and put them in prison (were the drink-steward/baker the same as the chief of the drink-stewards/chief of the bakers? or does the text imply that the chiefs were put in prison because those under them had sinned?) where they were under watch for days. We noted that each of the two had his own dream with its own meaning.
Along the way, we discussed the fact that we are in Egypt but very little has been said as background about Egypt indicating that the readers were aware of and familiar with Egypt so that it did not have to be explained. Another topic we have discussed recently is the midrash on Joseph, and that the Qur’an’s discussion of Joseph is similar indicating to some, at least, that there was an influence. We also discussed the fact that dream interpretation was common and important in ancient Egypt and that there are two extant ancient Egyptian manuals for dream interpretation that include lists of good dreams and bad dreams and the proper interpretation of them.
Our artwork this week is from U.S. Jewish artist, David Wander’s series of lithographs, Joseph and the Coat, The Cupbearer and Baker’s Dream (above), and Pharaoh’s Dream about Cows (below). Wander has illustrated all of the megillot, the book of Jonah, and various biblical scenes as well as produced The Haggadah in Memory of the Shoah. He works in a variety of media including watercolor, oil, acrylic, pastel, and woodworking.