So much psychology in this week’s parshah! Before we even get into the dreams, there is so much to learn in the few verses about the initial hostility between Yosef and his brothers.
One good thing Rashi teaches us about the brothers comes from Rashi’s comment on “They were not able to speak to him peaceably.” Rashi writes, “from this disparagement of them we learn something praiseworthy about them. They did not say one thing with their mouth and have another thing with their heart.”
Either they told it to Yosef like it was, or they just didn’t say anything to him at all.
It is interesting to note that Rashi uses this same phrase, “achat bi’peh vi’achat bi’lev” to describe Yaakov in 25:27 when the Torah tells us that Yaakov was Ish Tam, a pure person. Unlike Esav, Yaakov’s heart and mouth were in sync.
What I find of further interest is that Rashi makes a big deal about how much Yosef seemed to resemble Yaakov in deeds. Perhaps Rashi is saying that Yaakov only saw himself in yosef, but had he looked a bit harder he could have seen characteristics in his other sons that resembled him as well.
More on the brothers, on verse 8 the Torah says that they hated Yosef because of his dreams and because of his words. Which words? You would think that it was the interpretation to the dream that Yosef had just told them.
Rashi says differently. He says that the words refer back to the evil reports about them that Yosef would bring to their father.
I think Rashi is making an important psychological point. The brothers would not have cared about the dreams if they didn’t already hate Yosef. Had Yosef not already gotten on their bad side by reporting on them they may have even supported his vision for the future.
Yosef another Biblical figure who would have benefited from reading How to Win Friends and Influence People.