VAYESHEV (GEN 37:1 -40:23)
Despite the fact that this Torah portion is actually potentially one of the most interesting in the entire Torah, I didn’t feel like it was really connected to me at all. And that was fine. But in light of doing THIS project, writing THIS blog/journal/response/feedback/THING, as I was reading I was also sort of thinking WHAT I would be writing about- and I feel like I would be really stretching here to make it queer at all. Indeed WTC focused on Tamar’s actions, and TQ stretched FAAAAAAAAAAARRR to make Joseph into some queer icon. It all just felt really reachy. But, then I was reminded of the video of Rabbi Benay Lappe that Rabbi Rachel sent me, which has that little part about how if Donkeys read the Torah they would talk about all the parts with Donkeys in them. And how, as humans, we don't pay attention those, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. It just means that we filter for who WE are, and that is valid, and has always been valid and will always be valid.
And so, in that light, one of the things that struck me here was Joseph’s journey to find himself. He’s sort of an idiot at the beginning, naïve to put it best. He has these dreams, saying who he really is/ will be- and the thing about it is- he doesn’t interpret them- he doesn’t even see them for what they mean- others do (his brothers, his dad). They see it, and it makes them uncomfortable. And they end up casting him out for it. And that can be very much like the queer experience. People sometimes see us for who we are before we do- they see us as something other than the norm, they see that we don’t “quite fit”, and so we get punished by society (in Joseph's case society was his brothers) for it. Anyway. That was all my thoughts about that.
Note: remember how in CHAYE SARAH, Rebeccah was called a “young man”? Well, it's the same word used here for Joseph, who is at 17 at the beginning of this story. He’s a young boy. I don’t know why exactly I feel like that’s worth mentioning but I do. (of course we see her show that she is incredibly with it and on top of things at that point in her young life, where he at this point proves to be a bit of a bonehead)