The mystery of Joseph and his brothers gives pause

BY RABBI JAMES STONE GOODMAN

poetry from the Stavisker Diwan

Joseph is a mystery

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because you don’t know

what he will say

once he starts talking.

When his brothers show up

he might be angry with them

after having sold him out

but Joseph leads with the truth

you sold me out.

His brother Judah gets in his face

vayigash

he comes close.

It’s the closeness that melts Joseph.

Joseph can be so right.

He has plenty reason to be angry

but he dissolves face into face

no one is more surprised

in that scene

than Joseph.

It wasn’t you who brought me here,

Joseph says, but God.

I am guilty too,

Joseph says,

all of us guilty

of something.

I’m on a mission

from God.

God sent me ahead of you

to save lives.

Joseph can be such

a kid

sometimes.

Then —

he speaks like

a holy man

It wasn’t you

who brought me here,

but God.

Rabbi James Stone Goodman of Congregation Neve Shalom prepared this week’s Torah Portion.

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