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Vayeishev: Don’t Flaunt Your Blessings

Vayeishev-Don't Flaunt Your Blessings

This is a series for the bar/bat mitzvah parent on quick, concise and meaningful messages from the weekly Torah portion – perfect for use in a parent speech.

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The most famous sibling rivalry in the Torah has to be that of Joseph and his brothers. Joseph appeared to get everything – his father’s love, gifts, attention. Just that was enough to make his other brothers hate him.

But it wasn’t enough to make them want to get rid of him permanently. What triggered that?

Dreams. Joseph’s dreams. Joseph’s dreams of stars and wheat sheaves bowing down to him. Now, dreams – whether they emanate from your own mind, subconscious, or something bigger outside yourself – are dreams. And you can have any dream you want. The question is whether to share it.

Joseph did – and the brothers were overtaken with jealousy and hate. “He’s saying he’s going to rule over us? He’s telling US he’s going to rule over US?”

And they made plans to get rid of this usurper who was trying to become the dictator of the family – or so they thought.

Everyone has blessings – talents, material objects, or life circumstances that they’ve been given a larger measure of than the people around them. Enjoy your blessings. Use them well. But don’t flaunt them. Don’t show off your high mark on the SATs. Don’t drop how much your parents paid for your clothes, phone or car (if the numbers are higher than those of your friends). Don’t flaunt your artistic talent.

It doesn’t mean you need to hide any of those things – but you don’t need to deliberately show off either. Because deliberately showing off evokes jealousy. And you don’t need to deal with that.

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