Nehemia Gordon & Keith Johnson – Pearls from the Torah Portion – Veyeshev – Genesis 37:1-40:23

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13 thoughts on “Nehemia Gordon & Keith Johnson – Pearls from the Torah Portion – Veyeshev – Genesis 37:1-40:23

  1. גַּל עֵינַי וְאַבִּיטָה נִפְלָאוֹת מִתּוֹרָתֶךָ: תהילים, קיט:יח
    Gal Eiynay Vəabiyta~ Nifəlaot Mitoratecha:
    Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things in your Tőrâh: Psalms, 119:18

  2. This segment answered so many questions for me. Thank you. And I thoroughly enjoy all the attempts to be “delicate”, rofl!

  3. I thank you Nehemia, Keith & Jono for these very interesting weekly teachings,

    I’d like to make a couple of comments on this week’s Pearls.

    We do have some brief though pertinent insights into the relationships between Israel’s (Jacob’s) sons, and when you trace where their descendants went, you can see the same relationships still at work, and effecting the history of nations.

    For example, in this week’s Torah portion we learn that Reuben personally, though apparently privately, intended to take Joseph out of the pit; he was distraught to later learn that his brothers had sold him into slavery. Reuben had intended to do no harm to Joseph; he just went along with his brothers to “teach the little brat” a lesson.

    The descendants of Reuben are primarily found nowadays in France; the Celtic Gauls and the Ribuari Franks are Reubenites (see http://britam.org/reuben.html). The descendants of Joseph (primarily the English speaking world) will therefore always come to the aid of France, for example in WWI and WWII, although France will continue to resent Joseph (and Judah) as they inherited the primary blessings, even though Reuben was the first born.

    We see a similar pattern with Ishmael and Isaac, then Easu and Jacob, then Reuben and Joseph, where the first born son did not inherit the primary blessings of their fathers, and resentment continues to this day. This also explains France’s (Reuben’s) desire to align with Germany (Easu- Edom) in spite of Germany’s history with France. Reuben still retains resentment to Joseph, and because of that it seeks to ally itself to non-Israeli nations based on a commonality of resentment.

    The second point I wanted to raise is rather lengthy, so I’ll post it separately.

  4. The second point from today’s Pearls concerns that I wanted to raise, and I apologise for being a “blog hog” in so doing, concerns Nehemia’s comment that our Almighty Father has higher expectations for the Tribe of Judah than, perhaps, for the other Tribes (hence the prompt, no-nonsense removal of Er and Onan).

    This higher expectation is also made manifest in the absence of the sons of Judah in the early Israelite history, from the time of Pharez through to the time of David.

    There is much in the Bible, particularly in the Tanach, which puzzles us. Genealogies in particular, those long lists of almost unpronounceable names. We may look at them and wonder why they are there, what possible purpose do they serve, why has God ordained that they be there?

    We know that they all serve some purpose (Matthew 5:18), though that purpose may be unknown to us at the moment.

    Let’s look at the ancestors of King David, and see what emerges.

    1. Judah, the father of the Jews, the third son of Jacob (renamed Israel, the father of all the Israelites), and Leah, daughter of Laban.

    In Genesis Chapter 38 we read that Judah married a Canaanite woman named Shuah, and they had three sons named Er, Onan, and Shelah. Judah married his son Er to a woman named Tamar, and they did not have any children as the Lord killed Er for his wickedness. Judah then told his second son Onan to marry Tamar to raise up children for his deceased brother Er, but Onan “spilled his seed on the ground” as he did not want to raise up children for his dead brother. The Lord then killed Onan for his wickedness.

    Judah then told Tamar to stay at his house till Shelah was grown, when he would give him to her as her husband. Tamar waited patiently and Shelah became a grown man, but he was not given as a husband to Tamar. Tamar then “played the harlot” and by disguising herself, seduced her father-in-law Judah, and thus conceived the illegitimate twins Pharez and Zarah.

    2. Pharez married and had two sons, Hezron (Chatzron) and Hamul (Chamol).

    3. Hezron (Esron in Matthew’s genealogy) married the daughter of Nachit, and had sons named Ram (Aram), Jerahmeel, and Chelubai.

    4. Ram (Aram) was born in Egypt, and had a son named Aminadab (Aminadav)

    5. Aminadab had a son named Naasson (Nachshon), and a daughter named Elisheba, who married Aaron the High Priest, brother of Moses.

    6. Naasson (Prince of the tribe of Judah in Goshen) married, and had a son named Salmon

    7. Salmon married Rachab, the “harlot of Jericho”, and had a son named Boaz (Boos).

    8. Boaz married Ruth the Moabitess; they had a son named Obed.

    9. Obed was the father of Jesse

    10. Jesse was the father of David.

    11. David, King of Israel.

    So, from Judah to Jesse, we have ten generations who lived through over 600 years of history, from the time of the Patriarchs, the migration to, and eventual enslavement in Egypt, the Exodus back to the Promised land, the capture of the land from the Canaanites, up till the time of the first king, Saul.

    Yet in all this time, and through all that period of history, the tribe of Judah did not play a leading role, apart from Caleb’s important role with Joshua during the Exodus (more on Caleb latter).

    Now this does appear to contradict Israel’s (Jacob’s) blessings on his children. Israel passed on the blessings he inherited from his father Isaac, who in turn inherited them from his father Abraham. Israel passed on specific blessings to his thirteen children (Joseph’s children Ephraim and Manasseh shared the inheritance promised to their father Joseph).

    Two of the sons of Israel had quite specific and distinct blessings; these went to Judah, and birth-right blessings to Ephraim. Parts of the blessings from Israel to Judah are found in Genesis 49:8 and 49:10.

    Genesis 49:8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.

    Genesis 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

    Given that “the sceptre shall not depart from Judah”, which means that Judah’s role was to rule over and pass laws for all the Israelite tribes, why did not the tribe of Judah play a role in early history of the Israelites?. Over 600 years had passed, and ten generations of Judah’s descendants, but the tribe of Judah, the anointed ruler and law-giver, played virtually no role in the early history of the Israelites.

    Joseph was pre-eminent in Egypt, and we can assume that his descendants through the line of Ephraim continued in that role till the time of the Exodus. Moses, from the tribe of Levi, led the Exodus to the River Jordan. Joshua, from the tribe of Ephraim brought the children of Israel into the Promised Land and drove out the Canaanites, and divided the land into tribal allotments.

    Then began the period of the Judges starting with Othniel Ben Kenaz, who was of the tribe of Judah, and was the son of Kenaz, the younger brother of Caleb who we mentioned briefly before, and to whom we shall refer later. Othniel was followed by Ehud (tribe of Ephraim), Shamgar (possibly a Hittite convert), Deborah and Barak (tribes of Benjamin and Naphtali), Gideon (tribe of Manasseh), Abimelech (tribe of Manasseh), Tola (tribe of Issachar), Jair (tribe of Manasseh), Jephtha (tribe of Manasseh), Ibzan (most likely of the tribe of Zebulon), Elon (tribe of Zebulon), Abdon (tribe of Ephraim), Samson (tribe of Dan), Eli (most likely of the tribe of Levi), and Samuel (tribe of Levi).

    Samuel, the last of the Judges, and a Prophet / Priest, then anointed Saul as the first King of Israel. We would expect that Saul, as the first King of Israel, would be of the tribe of Judah; but he wasn’t, he was of the tribe of Benjamin.

    Samuel latter anointed David as the King of Israel, and the promised rule of Judah then commenced.

    Now it might be puzzling why so much time had passed before a son of Judah assumed the throne of Israel, and made manifest the promise of Jacob to the tribe of Judah, so why was the promise held in abeyance for so long?

    The answer is found in the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 23, verse 2 (remember the circumstances of the birth of David’s 10th Grandfather, Pharez):

    “A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD. “

    So, here we have here the answer, which we could not arrive at without those lengthy “boring” genealogies. Everything that is in the Bible is there for a purpose, a divine purpose; it is all for our instruction, and we are blessed to have it. Treasure it and prosper by it.

    Now, returning to Caleb and his family, who were of the tribe of Judah and rightfully received prominence during the Exodus and into the early period of the Judges, does this disprove the suspension of the Abrahamic blessings on the descendants of Judah due to Deuteronomy 23:2 above?

    No, quite the opposite. Caleb and his family were not physical descendants of the Patriarch Judah, they were Kenizzites (Edomites) who had at some time come to worship the Living God of Israel, and were accepted as members of the tribe of Judah. Remember that even an Edomite must be accepted into the Congregation of Israel after three generations (Deuteronomy 23:7-8), which must be rather irksome to our cousins in Judah, given their understanding of where Edom is these days. The Jewish sages have tracked the migration of Edom from Assyria to Sparta, from Sparta to the colony of Rome, and from Rome to northern Germany with the migration of their “Holy Roman Empire”. Thus, if a grandson (or great-grandson) of Adolph Eichmann lived by Torah, and sought fellowship with his Jewish neighbours, he could not be turned away, which demonstrates the high importance God places on forgiveness and reconciliation amongst men, and the necessity of having a “circumcised heart”.

  5. B’rakhot & todah raba for these Torah pearls.

    A thought I’ve always desired to share; Had Joseph not related his dreams to his family, Moses could not have related them to us. Joseph gets a bad rap for the bad behavior of his brothers. As we know, Joseph’s ruling over his brothers is a lifesaving blessing to them.

    The odd dream is that of “the Sun & Moon” – as Rev’qah passed-on before Yoseph ever made it to Mitsrayim.

    As brought out here, Jacob knowingly committed idolatry & harlotry with the Temple Prostitute and unknowingly committed incest or adultery with Tamar, his daughter-in-law, but all this is not accounted to him; why? בָּרוּךְ יָה

  6. Wow, this is so for today.
    The same way when Joseph, was hated by his brothers… so too for those who chose To Be Israel. Choosing to follow (incorporate) YHWH (The Torah) and His salvation Yeshua into your life keeping Shabbaths. Joseph was the favorite I believe is because his mother was The One who his father 1st loved.
    I would love to learn the prayer too.
    wow, didn’t know potifir was a eunic… todah for pearls
    the word moleste in spanish is to bother / annoy very much (texmex spanglish).

  7. Doesn’t Joseph mary Potifir’s daughter? If so, is this a different Potifir than the eunuch he served or an issue of timing, adoption etc…?

  8. I have a question: Nehemiah explained that from the Hebrew, it is clear that Potiphar was a eunuch. In the next portion (Miketz), Genesis 41, Joseph marries the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On and, according to a Rabbi I listened to today, this was the same Potipher Joseph had served in chapter 39. My question is: Is this the same man and if so, how is it that a eunuch has a daughter?

  9. My kiddos hear EVERYTHING in the Bible, my favorite quote from them , “Mom, these people are SERIOUSLY MESSED UP!” ROFL

    I figure Er’s mother being a Kena’anite was a problem, like it was whenever a King of Judah married a foreign woman it would result in a bad King. Tamar is a Hebrew name, isn’t it? I assumed she was a daughter of one of his brothers.

  10. Hello Jono,

    As part of my family’s weekly Torah studies, I’m trying to download Torah Pearls on iTunes so I can put them on my ipod, but I can only get the 10 most recent episodes (i.e. from the 6th of december down to the 16th of november). Can you please make the other Torah Pearls available on iTunes?

    Thank you.

  11. Nehemia, Keith and Jono, in Gen 37:2 : Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.

    Is it mean only Gad, Asher, Dan and Naphtali? Are they who hate Joseph the most?

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