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December 1, 2012 / conservadox

Dvar Torah- Vayishev

I feel like I have enough interesting material for multiple Dvar Torahs on this coming week’s portion but I will start at the end, with Joseph’s dreams involving the king’s cupbearer and baker.  He is in prison with them, and predicts that the first will be restored to his position and that the second will be executed.  (Gen. 40) How does he know?

Sarna points out that “in the dream the cupbearer is actually performing his duties in the presence of Pharoah.” (referring to the Torah’s statement that the king’s “cup is in my hand, and I took the grapes, pressed them into Pharoah’s cup, and placed the cup in Pharoah’s hand.”  Thus, the cupbearer will come back to work for the king. Sounds pretty obvious- why didn’t I think of that?

Joseph also predicts all of this will happen within three days.  Why three days?  Sarna notes that the dream refers to a vine with three branches, and three stages of growth- first a vine buds, then blossoms come out, and then grapes come out (Gen. 40:10).   Also, both “Pharoah” and his cup are mentioned three times.

What about the unfortunate baker?  He dreams there are three baskets on his head, and birds are eating out of the top basket.   Joseph says the three baskets mean that the baker will die in three days (40:18).

Why does Joseph expect the baker to die? First of all, the king is not mentioned in the dream, a bad sign because it means he won’t return to serve the king.  And the baker can’t drive the birds away, an indication of helplessness at best.  (Admittedly that doesn’t make Joseph’s interpretation the only plausible one, but it at best it certainly suggests that the baker isn’t going to have good luck coming back to work for the king).



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