Congregation Etz Hayim at Hollis Hills Bayside

The consolidated communities of Hollis Hills Bayside Jewish Center and Marathon Jewish Community Center

Shabbat Vayeshev 5774

As a native Torontonian, it’s been nice to see my city getting so much attention in recent weeks. Well, that’s not quite true. As the world watches the train wreck that is Mayor Rob Ford speed faster and faster out of control, I can’t imagine that anyone with roots in Toronto is proud of the reputation our city has developed.

Ford seems to agree with the statement attributed to P.T. Barnum, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” But his spiraling behavior points to a painful lack of self-awareness, or as it is called today, emotional intelligence.

In this week’s parshah, Vayeshev, we begin the saga of Yosef, Ya’akov’s favored son. We know he is favored because the Torah tells us so (37:3), with the favoritism expressed through the gift of a special coat. This, along with Yosef’s willingness to rat on his brothers and to share his dreams with them in audacious fashion, creates deep hatred within the family.

Maybe Ya’akov begins to recognize the monster he’s created. After all, what does he do in response to Yosef’s dream-sharing? He may well be sending his son some powerful but coded messages. What are they, and does Yosef pick up the signals?

Try the EQ quiz in the link above, and think about Yosef’s emotional intelligence as we explore more in shul on Shabbat morning. 

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom, 

 

Rabbi David Wise