Genesis Means Origins

The first book of the Bible tells of the origins of the world and of a very interesting family eventually known as the children of Israel.

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The root of Joseph's conflict with his brothers lies in his status as Jacob's favorite son. (Given the troubles that he went through with his own brother and parents, one would think Jacob would know better, but this is a recurring theme throughout the Torah.) His brothers fake his death and sell him to a passing slave caravan. He ends up in Egvpt where, after a series of misadventures, his mastery of dream interpretation raises him to the status of the Pharaoh's principle advisor. His ingenuity in the face of a lengthy famine helps Pharaoh consolidate his hold over Egypt, and indirectly brings him face to face with his brothers once more. After tormenting them with accusations of theft (with planted evidence to back him up), he finally reveals himself to them, they bring the aged Jacob to Egypt reuniting the family, and they all live happily ever after in Egypt, more or less.

Or at least until a new Pharaoh arises "who knew not Joseph." But that is the story of the next four books.

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George Robinson

George Robinson, author of Essential Judaism, is the recipient of a Simon Rockower Award for excellence in Jewish journalism from the American Jewish Press Association. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsday, Jewish Week, and The Detroit Jewish News.