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Joseph's Adventures

by Nissan Mindel

Talks and Tales

  

Library » History » Patriarchs, 12 Tribes | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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The Boy Disappears

Joseph's brothers returned to their meal in grim silence. What had they done? Had they gone crazy? They looked at each other furtively, and noticed that none of them was eating anything. They had lost their appetites; their consciences were troubling them . . .

"Why are we sitting here doing nothing?" one of them suddenly burst forth. "Let us chase after those Ishmaelites and get our brother back!"

As one man they rose and hurried out, the fastest runner among them had to turn back, as they could see no trace of the Ishmaelite caravan, nor had they any idea in which direction to look. Joseph, their brother, had disappeared as completely as if the earth had swallowed him up.

Meanwhile Reuben, who had gone home to take care of his father Jacob, returned, not knowing that his brothers had sold Joseph. "Now is my chance to free Joseph from the pit and take him home," he said to himself. "My brothers are not so bad; I am sure they will realize that they don't really want to harm Joseph, and they'll be glad I saved him." But imagine his horror when he reached the pit, called Joseph's name and got no answer. Had a snake killed poor Joseph, he thought with a shudder? Quickly Reuben let himself down into the pit, and was sadly convinced that Joseph was not there. With great difficulty he managed to climb out of the deep pit and hurried off in search of his brothers.

"Let us make up our minds from now on never to quarrel amongst ourselves any more, and let us all swear that, as long as we live, we shall not cease in our search for our brother Joseph, until we find him and set him free"
As soon as Reuben came within calling distance of them, he called out frantically: "Where is Joseph? What have you done with him?" As he came nearer, Reuben saw that his brothers had been crying, and they all looked very depressed.

"It was all Judah's fault," they cried out together. "He was the one who suggested we should sell Joseph!"

"But I meant to save him! It was you who wanted to kill him!"

"No, it isn't so. If you said: 'Let him go,' we would have listened to you. It's all your fault!" Thus it went, back and forth.

"That's enough quarreling," interrupted Reuben. "Don't you see what terrible things come from quarrels between brothers? Let us make up our minds from now on never to quarrel amongst ourselves any more, and let us all swear that, as long as we live, we shall not cease in our search for our brother Joseph, until we find him and set him free. Meanwhile, we must keep the secret of our shameful deed from our dear Father. For, heartbroken as he surely will be at the loss of his beloved son Joseph, he will at least be spared the shocking thought that we, his sons, Joseph's own brothers, sold him into captivity."

All Joseph's brothers took the solemn oath suggested by Reuben, vowing that each would be ready to give his life, if only Joseph would be found.

And G-d said: Jacob would never have willingly gone to Egypt. He would have had to be dragged there by force, in iron chains, so that My prophecy, which I made to Abraham, could be fulfilled. For I had told him that his children would be enslaved in a foreign land, but would eventually be freed from the slavery of Egypt with great riches. Therefore I, too, will not tell Jacob where his son Joseph is, but when the time will come for Jacob to go to Egypt, I will find a way of letting him know that Joseph is alive and in Egypt. He will then go gladly, and he will be welcomed with great honor and joy.


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Abraham
First Jew, and first of our three Patriarchs. Born into a pagan society in Mesepotamia in 1812 BCE, he discovered monethieism on his own. He was told by G-d to journey to the Land of Canaan where he and his wife Sarah would give birth to the Jewish People.
Jacob
Third of the three Patriarchs and father of the Twelve Tribes. Lived most his life in Canaan and died in Egypt in 1505 BCE. Also known by the name of "Israel."
Isaac
Second of the three Jewish Patriarchs, son of Abraham and Sarah. Lived in Canaan (Israel); b. 1712 BCE, d. 1532 BCE.
Rachel
Third of the four Jewish matriarchs. Daughter of Laban, favorite wife of Patriarch Jacob, and mother of Joseph and Benjamin. Died while giving birth to Benjamin in 1557 BCE.
Judah
1. The fourth son of Jacob and Leah. He was blessed by Jacob to be the leader of the tribes. Consequently, the Davidic royal dynasty is from the tribe of Judah. 2. The southern part of Israel which was occupied by the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and always remained under the reign of the kings from the tribe of Judah.
Joseph
Firstborn son of Rachel and Jacob. Because he was Jacob's favorite son, his brothers conspired against him and sold him into slavery He ended up in Egypt where he became viceroy of the land, and eventually brought his entire family to Egypt. Died in 1451 BCE.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.