A mother’s guidance might have saved Joseph and his people from a whole lot of of tsuris

By Susan Kray

During our latest Erev Shabbat, lay leader Susan Kray had intended to deliver a sermon on Parashat Shemot (Exodus 1:1 – 6:1) to the congregation at UHC.

Sadly, bad weather delayed Susan’s sermon on the trials of Joseph.

We rectify that situation here by sharing, with her permission, Susan’s Dvar-Torah.

Judging by our ancient, sacred tradition, it seems possible that Joseph and his brothers and their families all wound up in Egypt evolving into a slave population for one reason: Joseph had grown up motherless.

Rachel’s death deprived Joseph of female guidance

Joseph was deprived of appropriate female influence. His mother Rachel died right after she gave birth to his little brother Benjamin.

As a result, Joseph grew up without proper female guidance. We all know what a mess that motherless boy made of his relationships to his brothers, a mess leading to generations of slavery.

Motherless, little Joseph went all eccentric and disconnected. We need not be surprised that every big brother he had — and there were a lot of them — got fed up. And so one day, they all reacted by popping the obnoxious lad into a pit.

The moral of the Exodus story is clear: sons need a mother to keep them in line.

Then they sold him to passing traders and the rest is the Book of Exodus with its mass escape, its nation-building, the history of Israel and ultimately, post-biblically, millions of seder plates.

The moral of the Exodus story is clear: sons need a mother to keep them in line.

If a mother does disappear, for whatever reason, an adequate stand-in must immediately take charge, or your little cousin, too, may wind up in a pit, a slave caravan and a foreign prison, ultimately leading to the mass enslavement of your entire people.

Beware, be wary and take measures. Mothers are not dispensable.

That is the lesson of the Exodus story. It is why we call our mass escape from the slavery that this motherless boy got us into the #UsToo movement.

Amen, Selah, Shabbat Shalom,

Susan

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