This week's parsha
Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org website. We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given. For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website. If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the Chabad.org website.
Vintage Wine or Split Peas
Joseph had revealed his identity to his brothers. He now urged them to return to Canaan to bring the joyous tidings that "Joseph yet lives" to their aged father Jacob, and to bring Jacob back to Egypt with his entire family and household. The Torah further relates that Joseph sent along food and gifts for Jacob with his brothers: "And to his father he sent the following: ten donkeys carrying the choice [foods] of Egypt, and ten she-donkeys carrying grain, bread, and [other] food, for his father for the way."
There are two different interpretations quoted by the commenter Rashi as to the nature of these "choice foods." One explanation is that he sent "vintage wine, which greatly pleases the elderly," while the other maintains that Joseph sent split peas. There is not one shade of detail in the explanations of our Torah-commentators that is, G‑d forbid, trite or trivial or lacking significance. Here too, both of the interpretations quoted by Rashi reveal new insights of understanding of the narrative.
The Author of Our Lives
It was Joseph’s first real attempt to take his fate into his own hands, and it failed. Or so it seemed.
Consider the story so far, as set out in last week’s parshah. Almost everything that happens in Joseph’s life falls into two categories. The first are the things done to him. His father loves him more than his other sons. He gives him a richly embroidered cloak.
Serenity or Struggle?
We often hear that the goal of life is personal serenity. We can all relate to this. No problems, no difficulties. Every day peaceful and calm. The sun always shining. It sounds good!
"But -- wait a minute," you say. "What if a person has things to achieve in life? Can you always be calm and peaceful? Might there not be something worth struggling for, worth striving for? Isn't there something we want to achieve?"