Vayeshev (He Continued Living)
Now That is Dysfunction
The trials of Esau, Laban and the ordeal at Sh’khem and the death of Rachel are now behind Jacob. He even has a new name. I’m sure he thought it would be time to take life easy to enjoy his family, right? Not so fast. Now the trials take on a whole new level. The star at center stage of these new trails is Yosef, the favored son. With Yosef, the fruit of the dysfunction of this family will ripen to full maturity.
Many of us would say we come from families that were or are dysfunctional at some level. Some may be minor dysfunction; others would be over the top. The family of the one now called the “Prince of El” will live like anything but their name. Consider your family. Most of us may have thought about selling a family member, but really going through with it, probably not. We also see the constant underlying attitude of jealousy. It almost comes to the harshest consequence, murder. This family gets the trophy for dysfunctional family of all times.
As we are a part of this family called Israel now, here is a question in the midst of this Torah portion. “Are we doing any better than they were a few thousand years ago?” I don’t really think I even need to offer an answer on that one as it is way too obvious.
Over the next few weeks we will read of the life of Yosef. It is interesting that almost 25 percent of the book of Genesis is devoted to this man’s life. We will read of how he rose to power to only to be thrown in a prison. He will then be betrayed by new friends and left to stare once again at prison walls. Life will take a real turn and he will rise to a position of power which will in the end provide for the uniting of his family. This relocation and unification should give harmony and peace for generations of the family of Israel. Well, maybe not. The sad truth is that though the family of Israel was brought together, the idea of living happily ever after is still something that is out of our grasp.
It is true that the family of Israel is just as dysfunctional as it has ever been. We have taken dysfunction to a new level in many ways. Today we have people who are part of the family that don’t even know they are part of the family. There are those who believe the family is done away with and replaced by a new family. Regarding the rules of the family, well that is another matter all together. Today, the family of Israel is full of realms, backbiting, anger and a host of other things. What is the answer? What can we do to affect change? Can we affect change? I believe so. In fact if I did not believe that I sure would not be doing what I am doing.
How can we affect change in this family of Israel? Here are some ideas.
First of all, quit arguing! Yes, it is that simple. I know people who thrive on Facebook arguments. What a waste of time. Think about it. In the end, how many people have you won over to your way of thinking through these arguments? If this is your purpose you are arguing for your own self satisfaction and worth anyway. Wrong motivation! It is true that it takes two to tango. Want to affect change? Quit the tango.
Next idea would be to celebrate blessings within the family instead of being jealous when someone is blessed. This idea alone would have made a difference in the life of Yosef and his brothers.
How about actually seeking to esteem others in the family better than ourselves instead of just reading those words of Paul? Being a servant to the family will change the atmosphere positively. There is a novel idea.
Of course, my list could go on and on. It would be my list though, not yours. What each of us needs to do as we read, especially this Torah portion is to look at our own lives, compile our own lists of attitudes, habits, beliefs and other things that are adding to the dysfunction instead of unity in Him.
In the end, this family known as Israel, the most dysfunctional family to ever live will be the world’s model for what a family of Yah is to look like. This family will walk in unity and blessing like no other family has ever walked. We are not there yet. May we not be satisfied to just continue like we are, waiting for Messiah’s return, thinking that at that time He is just going to zap us into perfection! Are we willing to learn from those we read about this week and make a decision to quit walking in their footsteps and begin to walk in His? In the end it really is our choice. Let us choose life! (Click to Source)