Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Joseph's "Crime"

I watched "Joseph" last night and found myself stunned by the simplicity of a brilliant point they made. Of all the crimes that Joseph is accused of, the idea that he would try to force himself on Zelicha (Potiphar's wife) is the most ironic, due to the fact that he had been alive, would have witnessed and seen the rape of Dinah and its aftermath (the brothers killing out the males and despoiling the city.)
    ב וַיַּרְא אֹתָהּ שְׁכֶם בֶּן-חֲמוֹר, הַחִוִּי--נְשִׂיא הָאָרֶץ; וַיִּקַּח אֹתָהּ וַיִּשְׁכַּב אֹתָהּ, וַיְעַנֶּהָ.

    2 And Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her; and he took her, and lay with her, and humbled her.

    ~Genesis 34:2
Compare to:

    יד וַתִּקְרָא לְאַנְשֵׁי בֵיתָהּ, וַתֹּאמֶר לָהֶם לֵאמֹר, רְאוּ הֵבִיא לָנוּ אִישׁ עִבְרִי, לְצַחֶק בָּנוּ: בָּא אֵלַי לִשְׁכַּב עִמִּי, וָאֶקְרָא בְּקוֹל גָּדוֹל.

    14 that she called unto the men of her house, and spoke unto them, saying: 'See, he hath brought in a Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice.

    טו וַיְהִי כְשָׁמְעוֹ, כִּי-הֲרִימֹתִי קוֹלִי וָאֶקְרָא; וַיַּעֲזֹב בִּגְדוֹ אֶצְלִי, וַיָּנָס וַיֵּצֵא הַחוּצָה.

    15 And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment by me, and fled, and got him out.'

    ~Genesis 39: 14-15
Does it make logical sense that Joseph would ever force himself on anyone, having seen how it affected his sister, or the consequences of that action [on the part of his brothers?] Logically, certainly not! Which is why it is so ironic that is the crime he should be accused of...


Aaron said...

Good point. Joseph was tzadik gamur. I'm not sure why he was accused of this crime either.

G said...

Perhaps just the opposite.

Like those who come from homes where they were abused are more likely to be the ones to abuse others.

Anonymous said...

In debate classes, we learned that to disarm a recognizably smarter opponent, an easy way was accuse them of an out of character or outrageous action, because it is an act which leaves them saying "did not". Smoke screen. And people (sheep) tend to want to believe evil of another. Politics uses the technique. Joseph was accused, for political reasons. The Hebrew people were a growing power and the woman wanted to be in control of Joseph's power and ability, and when refused, she lied about him. Like the Aesop's fable, "if I can't have the grapes I proclaim them soured for all others thinking". Theresa