Parasha Vayeshev – Playing Favorites

Parashat Vayeshev - Technicolor DreamcoatLast year Good Morning America ran a story about a father who posted on his blog that he favored one son over the other. We may have thought child favoritism was limited to our forefathers, but this blog post brought to light the challenges of family dynamics in modernity. This news clip was shared with Jewish day-school students, who were at the time studying the story of Yaakov and his favoritism of Yosef. Yosef did not have such a great reputation among the students, since he went out of his way to share his self-aggrandizing dreams with his brothers. Upon watching the news clip, however, the students began to express feelings of empathy for Yosef, as he was burdened with the pressure of being the favorite son.

  • Why do you think Yaakov’s favoritism of Yosef contributed to Yosef’s difficulty connecting with his brothers?
  • How does parental favoritism impact the favored child and his or her place in society?

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