These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem


Posted on December 23, 2011 by Barer

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This week’s parsha, which was playfully called The Empire Strikes Back parsha of Yosef’s saga, brought to light just how true it is that the texts that make up the Tanach are in dialogue with each other.  Specifically, I saw multiple hints in the text of Miketz that are amplified in the story of Esther, read each year on Purim (of course, if the text about Chanukah, Maccabees, had been accepted into the canon, and it was that text that showed similarities, the case would be even stronger as this parsha often falls on Chanukah).  The scene that is most striking in this regard is Yosef interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams, and then helping Pharaoh decide what to do with the prophetic information of the dream, as compared to Mordechai assisting Achashverosh after exposing the assassination plot against the king.  A notable difference is that Yosef is before Pharaoh and he is the recipient of elevated status as a result of his actions, while Mordechai is given elevated status without ever being before the king, that role played by Haman in the story.  The language of humility expressed by Yosef in advising that Pharaoh find a wise man to rule to country to prepare for the impending seven-year famine is ironically twisted in Esther when Haman acts humble while secretly thinking all along that Achashverosh means to honour him (Haman) and not Mordechai.  If the parallel was not clear enough from that scene alone, the tokens of status given to Yosef are the exact same as those given to Mordechai (who, while not a descendent of Yosef, is from the tribe of Binyamin, who has close ties to Yosef, at least while the two brothers are alive): the signet ring of the king, royal garments, and a horse (and chariot).  I think this speaks to the beauty of studying these stories year after year, as the infinite number of connections to be drawn can bring beautiful new lessons to light.

What does it mean that

We can see mirrors between

Biblical heroes?