Joseph and Mandela: Exemplars of Reconciliation (Vayehi, Genesis 47:28-50:26)

By Rabbi Toba SpitzerThe Torah portion of Vayehi brings to a close the story of Joseph and his brothers—the longest and most detailed of the family sagas in the book of Genesis. Reading this complicated narrative of family tension, cruelty, and ultimate reconciliation in the same week that the world mourns the death of Nelson Mandela, it is difficult not to hear echoes between the Biblical account of Joseph and the real-world experiences of the beloved South African leader.On the s … [Read more...]

Carl Jung, John Lennon, and Joseph: The Shadow & The Beautiful Boy (Vayigash, Genesis 44:18-47:27)

By Stephen Hazan ArnoffJoseph was a beautiful boy, so beautiful, in fact, that his father was bewitched by his beauty, loving him more than all of his other sons. In the “Testament of Joseph” — part of a collection from late antiquity purporting to tell the first-person account of each of the 12 sons of Jacob — Joseph is quoted as saying, “[God] gave me ... beauty as a flower, beyond the beautiful ones of Israel” (see James Kugel’s “In Potiphar’s House”).It was because of this beauty, alo … [Read more...]