Which side are you on?
My dear spouse loves Joseph. I hold no such affection for Rachel’s oldest, particularly this week when he behaves like the 17-year-old snot-nosed kid he is. He rats out his brothers when they’re tending the flock (and Joseph brought bad reports of them to their father). He walks around in a specially made tunic of many colors. He brags about his dreams: suddenly my sheaf stood up and remained upright; then your sheaves gathered around and bowed low to my sheaf (phallic symbol, anyone?). And as if that wasn’t enough, he reports another dream: that he is worshipped by the sun, the moon, and eleven stars who bow down to him.
Not that I’m defending such behavior, but I can understand why his brothers might contemplate throwing him into a pit.
I find that one either tends towards rooting for Joseph or feeling highly ambivalent about him, i.e., not-rooting for him. The aforementioned spouse says that he relates to Joseph and his thirst for recognition, and I quote: he has very big dreams, but just gets in his own way, has to be beaten down again and again before he can use his gifts with humility. I just can’t go there. I’ve tried. I get it intellectually, how I should have compassion, try to see the story in more than one dimension — but emotionally, I’m stuck somewhere else entirely.
So friends, here is my question for you: which side of this divide do you fall? Thumbs up or down for Joseph the non-patriarch, the guy who gets thrown into a pit, is sold off to Egyptians, thrown in prison for refusing to sleep with Potiphar’s wife, and goes into next week’s story interpreting dreams while in gaol?
Let me hear from you….
(My poem for this week’s portion, What the Day Can’t Contain, the Night Will Embrace, can be found here.)