23 Dec Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat Vayeishev 5777
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Vayeishev which transitions the story of B’reishit, the book of Genesis, away from Yaakov himself and onto his sons. But before that takes place, the Torah makes it as clear as clear can be that among his twelve sons and one daughter, Yaakov has a favorite, Yoseif, or Joseph. Yaakov even goes so far as make a public display of this preference by giving Yoseif a gift of the k’tonet pasim, the coat of many colors. Anyone who has more than one child knows that we love our children the same without question. And even if we sometimes find ourselves better understanding, connecting with or identifying with a particular one amongst our children, we don’t have a preference and we certainly do not display that preference in public or worse, in front of the other children. It reminds us yet again, that our forefathers were far from perfect, just as we are anything but. Why do we identify with them? Because they struggle as we do in all aspects of their life, from relationships with God, to family dynamic and parenting. If they are allowed to have troubles, then God knows, so can we.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik