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When a Brother Hates a Brother

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“It is easy to hate and difficult to love.”

Confucius, who lived 2,500 years ago, was right. Hate is usually the first emotion among the living. A dog sees another dog and immediately they are at each other’s throats. Two kids exchange glances and there’s a fight. Adults watch the new guy in the office and plot to get rid of him.

Jacob’s family was racked by hate. The children of Leah belittled the sons of the concubines. Reuven, the eldest, was indecisive and wielded no authority. And everyone hated Joseph. He was the son of the late Rachel, Jacob’s chosen. Joseph was the favorite of Jacob, who took him everywhere. Father even made a coat of many colors for his son. That sparked bitter words among Jacob’s children.

“And his brothers saw that their father loved him of all the brothers. And they hated him and could not speak to him in peace.”

Then came the clincher: Joseph related his dreams to the family. In one dream, his sheaf rises from the ground and the sheaves of the brothers bow down. In another dream, the sun, moon and 11 stars kneel to Joseph.

“And his brothers said to him, ‘Will you rule over us?’ And they hated him even more for his dreams and words.”

Joseph was only 17 years old, far younger than his brothers. But the commentators say the teenager’s dreams were seen as prophetic, including by Jacob. And so the brothers plotted to kill him.

The Talmud stresses that the hate was not without cause. Joseph appeared vain, patting his curls, highlighting his eyes and strutting rather than walking. He incurred the........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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