JBlog Carnival Updates, HH, KCC & JPIX

Friday, January 1, 2016

Sacrilegious? A Midrash That Makes No Sense to Me!

Joseph and Potiphar's Wife
(1631 painting by 
Guido ReniWikipedia
I know that some people will find this rather sacrilegious.  I'm not a great fan of "drash," lots of the Midrashim about the Bible. My way of studying the Bible is reading it, yes, even in translation, but I read the words. I first want to see what the Bible says, not what "could have happened."

Quite often I find the stories very clear, but it's the interpretations that don't make any sense at all. I find it worse than incomprehensible that Yosef's wife Osnat could be the child Dina had from being raped by Shechem. Those who like that interpretation say that Osnat (Josef's wife) who is also identified as Potiphar's daughter is really their adopted daughter and that when Potiphar's wife tried to seduce Joseph it was because she thought that she, not her daughter was supposed to marry him.

The abduction of Dinah, depicted
James Tissot, Wikipedia
None of this makes sense to me. I honestly don't think that Jacob would have his granddaughter given to a high Egyptian official. And I certainly don't think that Dina would have given up her child, no matter how she was conceived. I also don't think that Potiphar would have taken a foreign child, a Jewish one at that, and adopted her to be his daughter. It's all too absurd.

What do you think? Please let me know in the comments, thanks.

This was written a few days ago and was scheduled to post.


Anonymous said...

Obviously it definitely makes sense: Dina gave birth to a child she had through an awful rape. She wants to get ride of this child which remembers her every time what happened. So, let's say she is suffering both: from the child being with her, and from the idea to leave her baby. Well, knowing that, and loving their little sister, the brother sold the baby to a caravan of ishmaelim merchants (hey, look's like it could have happen already, cf. Yosef's story ;-)
And on the other side of the story, you could have a family without ability to give birth, and very sad because of that. But they have power, and as such, money, to buy a beautiful baby girl abroad: that's how Putiphar could have bring Dina's daughter home. It's exactly the same story of Bitya bat Paro with baby born Moshe !!! So, definetly, the midrash is (here) very realistic. regards.

CR said...

perhaps Osnat's lineage and journey strengthens B'nei Menashe's claim to Shechem; i find the ensuing wrath of Shimon and Levi interesting: their anger reminds me of Mexican turf wars from a few years ago, which could also explain why foreigners are flocking to those disputed Southern borders to infiltrate the USA.

CR said...

i've wondered about the identity of the circumcized B'nei Shechem. the operation was done later in their young lives, i posit, much like Rusim. what was Dinah thinking by going there? Shimon and Levi really love their sister. their brotherly jealousy is enviable.

CR said...

Bridal Kidnapping is a tradition practiced in Central Asia to this day, such as Kyrgyzstan, where Bukharim come, who claim to be B'nei Benyamin.

Neshama said...

However, the Chumash we read every Shabbat, in one meforesh says that Yosef tells his father Yaakov that his children Menashe and Efrayim are from a kosher union. Osnas was wearing a pendant that Yaakov put around her neck saying that she was a daughter of Yaakov. Why is it so unrealistic that this could have been so? Simon (who married Dina), Levi, and DINA are buried together in the hills of Israel. Their graves were shown on Muqatta's blog. Why then wasn't this unfortunate child also buried together with them? She was not 'given over' to Potifera, but ended up being adopted by her.

Our understanding of things and events are shadowed by our own experiences and understandings so it is quite logical for one to believe as you, and one to believe as I do.

Good Erev Shabbat

Batya Medad said...

A and Neshama I just have trouble with the idea that Leah gave the child up and the child if there was one was never mentioned in chumash.
CR interesting about the Uisef connection to Shechem.

Marcel Cousineau said...

I first want to see what the Bible says, not what "could have happened."

You hit the nail on the head, there is so much conjecture and confusion among Gods' people and it's easily avoided if we obeyed this 1 teaching from Tanakh/Bible.

"Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart
And do not rely on your own insight or understanding.

In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him,
And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]."

Proverbs 3:5

This 1 verse taken to heart has rescued me many times in my 60+ years on this twisted, divided and confused earth.
Jeremiah 17:5 has also helped me when it comes to trusting any religious teachers above God.

I say, dump the commentaries and listen to what God is saying in His Own Word/Words, not our finite, limited, often confused minds some old dead fellow.... because God is alive, still!
Pride is what keeps so many from OBEYING Proverbs 3:5 and God's resists the proud.

Anonymous said...

Neshama's answer above is the correct one. Chazal all agree that Osnat (even the name gives you the answer) was Dina's child who was sent to Egypt and was eventually adopted by Potiphar and his wife. It is also known that Potifar was a enuch and thus they had no children, therefore, adopting Osnat. Yaakov Avinu gave an amulet to Osnat as a form of protection. When Yosef became viceroy of Egypt, he would come out to the people and there is where he saw her and recognized immediately the amulet she wore (an ornament of his people) and knew immediately who she was. His marriage to Osnat was truly a kosher one.
Important and very important to note that just reading the Torah can make little sense as everything seems condensed and there is no way of understanding all that it means; that is why the Torah is made up of both the Written and Oral Laws, etc. Both were given to Moshe and handed down to the Jewish people at har Sinai. Without the explanation of the holy sages that received their knowledge from their ancestors all the way back to HarSinai, we wouldn't be able to understand anything properly. When we think of our Tanaim, Amoraim, Geonim, etc., we must acknowledge that these men had the ruach Hakodesh. It was those who did not want to accept the Oral Law that are no longer amongst our people and avodah zorah was created from their misdeeds.

Batya Medad said...

Interesting but I still find the simple text easier to accept than most midrashim.

annie said...

Just a thought...but was wondering if it is like when King David was a child and his father did not know if David was actually his own son ...because he had separated from his wife ... But she gave birth to a son/David... None of the brothers nor Yishai thought David was a true son... So he was sent out to the field to care for the sheep and be exposed to the elements... the lion and the bear came and David lived thru it... Did Jacob send her out...away from them also... thinking...HaShem will do with this situation as He will and Osnat and Joseph and Manessah and Ephraim are...The Rest of the Story!!!!

Marcel Cousineau said...

Hi Batya,
There is some good hasbara for Israel coming from John in Tiawan,

The comments are interesting, a glimpse into the anti-semetic/pro Israel shadow war heating up now in too many places.

Hasbara from Tiapei

Sharbano said...

I thought we had seen the last of Marcel and his Xtian propaganda. It's no wonder he denigrates the teachings of the Rabbis. It's a Xtian "commandment". Jews certainly do NOT need your Yeshu.

Anonymous said...

Batya: When you say that it's hard for you to accept the midrashim, etc. from our holy Torah, you are not only voicing something that our enemies and those who practice avodah zorah love to read and hear from an Orthodox Jew, falling right into their trap. They pick and choose from our Torah and call it their Bible and never accepted the Torah, which consists of both the Written and Oral Laws. If one does not accept either of the two then they are called non-believers according to the Rambam's Thirteen Principals of Faith. Why is it hard for you to understand that our holy Prophets and Sages all had the holy spirit (ruach haKodesh)? We are not allowed to pick and choose what we with our finite minds seem to comprehend or not comprehend. The Torah is the life blood of the bnei Yisrael, given to us by Hashem! We are truly blessed, for no other people has been given this precious gift from the Creator.

Batya Medad said...

Please remember that midrashim are not on the same level of holiness as Torah and Nach. They are possible explanations and frequently contradictory. Perfectly kosher Torah observant parshanim compare and give opinions about midrashim. As a woman, mother and grandmother I find it difficult to accept that Dina would give up her child. And if the child had been kidnapped why isn't it mentioned? And please do not forget that there is no mention at all of a child from the rape.

Gnarlodious said...

Here is what really happened, and it is heresy.
Joseph and Zuleikha consummated their union, and the daughter born was Asenath. Her paternity was obfuscated to show Potiphar as her father. This pedigree made her eligible to be queen, as determined by the priesthood. Later, when Asenath was grown, Pharaoh arranges Joseph to marry her, unbeknownst to him that he was her father. So Joseph’s children were the result of father-daughter incest, giving them a much higher proportion of Semite genetics than if Potiphar were Asenath’s father. One of these children was Tiye, who became queen to Pharaoh Amenhotep 3. This is what Joseph meant when he declared “God has made me a father to Pharaoh”.

But the children of this marriage were trouble for the priesthood, being fanatical monotheists and rejecting the authority of the priesthood. To understand what went wrong, the priesthood examined Queen Tiye’s pedigree carefully. That is when Joseph’s deception was revealed, that he was really the father of Asenath, not Potiphar. The pharaohnic gene pool had been corrupted by Semite genetics, and all because of that sneaky Joseph. Thus the priesthood declared a genocide against Joseph’s descendants. A new Pharaoh was installed who was not descended from Joseph, and the persecution of the Israelites begins. All this intrigue was terribly shameful to the Jews, who erased it from history. Likewise to the Egyptians, who literally vandalized every reference to the 18th dynasty Josephite Pharaohs.

Batya Medad said...

Sounds like total fiction

Anonymous said...

Am extremely disturbed to read the gibberish on this Jewish site. How can an observant Jew not believe in the Oral laws of our Torah? Midrashim are many times just morals teaching us something; but when it comes to the translation connected to the history of our forefathers and great men of our Torah, it is plain TRUTH. These are not midrashim. Osnat, according to all chazal, was the child of Dina, sent by Yaakov Avinu with an amulet of protection. Why is it hard to believe that Dina would allow her child to be taken away? How many women would be glad for such a thing if, c'v, they had brought a child into the world through such a travesty? Secondly, we are talking about something that happened in ancient times and you & some commenters are thinking as modern day people who can't seem to understand that it was a different world then where the patriarch of a family was 'king' and no one dared defy him. We are talking of the holiest people H' created. The Torah is not stories, but truth and without the Oral laws handed down from Moshe up until today is KADOSH!

Marcel Cousineau said...

Sharbano, so my being pro Israel is "propaganda" ?

uum, A very arrogant and pious attitude you have, to denigrate the few friends Israel has these days.

It might be wise of you to listen to me instead of those who have been feeding am-yisrael the Oslo/Road Map/ 2 state final solution which the nation has religiously obeyed and followed since 1993, bowing to the will of Washington in disobedience to God, don't you think ?

Sharbano said...

Your typical diversionary tactic on display. Nothing new here.

Marcel Cousineau said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marcel Cousineau said...

'he denigrates the teachings of the Rabbis'

Anyone who puts the teachings of any man, and I mean ANY MAN, above the WORD of God is due for a spanking.

Better to get the spanking from me, rather than the Holy One of Israel, don't you think ?

I was wondering why He gave me Yeremiah 13 to read this morning, now I know why.

It would be wise for PROUD Sharbano to read the prayer of Daniel 9 until he understand that pride is Israel's greatest enemy just as it is for everyone else, especially the very proud Muslims.
They are paying a very heavy price for their 'air of superiority' over we infidels.
Beware of religious, human, self, success,etc. pride, it is the downfall of humanity and haSatan's greatest weapon.

Daniel 9

It stands alone without the need for any rabbi or teacher to explain!

Sharbano said...

You've shown your true intentions in the past, including disguising yourself. You want to sound as if you are pro-Israel but the truth lies elsewhere. You have displayed a hatred for nearly every Jew, especially Chazal, and the great Rabbis throughout the ages. You are just another one of the anti-Judaism Xtians. Your many posts of the past has proven this.

According to you the only "good" Jew is a messianic Jew and you reserve condemnation for every other Jew. Anytime any Jew has a differing opinion you start a rambling of condemnations with words as "Kapo Jew" and "hypocrite" and retort with straw man arguments, just as you did with the Oslo comments. Anyone can ask people like Daniel Greenfield and others about you.

Marcel Cousineau said...

What does one call a Jew who betrays his own people ?

I've called them what they are. Does the truth bother you ?

There are many Kapo Jews who have sold out Israel since Jericho was given to Israel's enemies.
You wrote;
According to you the only "good" Jew is a messianic Jew and you reserve condemnation for every other Jew.

You can not prove this because it is not true.
That is an outright lie and God will hold you accountable for your slur, don't you think ?

Please TELL ME what Daniel Greenfield says about me as it does not seem to be a secret ???

There is much 'condemnation to go around these days, even with the condition of your hate filled soul.
You are not much different than the Muslims with their taqiyya.

Neshama said...

Marcel, you should know that Gods' means more than one G–D (which there is none unless you believe in avoda zarah, but G–D's is the possessive form. Just a slip of the (typing) tongue I'm sure.

Marcel Cousineau said...

Thanks Neshama,
I missed that.
I grew in Miami in the 60's so it's a miracle that I can complete even a full sentence. For that matter, it's a miracle I'm still among the living.

Gott ist gutt!

nice name

Anonymous said...

Torah in its various forms is considered holy. This includes both the Written Torah as well as the Oral Torah. Many of the central concepts and commentaries of the Midrash are part of the Oral tradition from Sinai.

Regarding Midrash, the Maharal of Prague wrote that, “most of the words of the Sages were in the form of metaphor and the analogies of the wise… unless they state that a particular story is not a metaphor, it should be assumed that it is a metaphor. Therefore one should not be surprised to find matters in the words of the Sages that appear to be illogical and distant from the mind” (Be’er Hagolah, Fourth Be’er p. 51).