Which is Better: to Be Righteous, or to Be Quick to Sin and Quick to Repent?

The story of Joseph sets up two archetypes: the righteous dreamer (Joseph) and the flawed but penitent sinner (his brother Judah). Both have a place in the tradition, but one is preferred.

From Tamar, Judah’s Daughter-In-Law, Chagall, 1960.

From Tamar, Judah’s Daughter-In-Law, Chagall, 1960.

Observation
Dec. 22 2016
About the author

Sarah Rindner teaches English literature at Lander College in New York and blogs at Book of Books.


In the final chapters of Genesis, where this week’s reading of Vayeshev (37:1-40:23) plays a pivotal part, the stories of the patriarchs reach a dramatic crescendo with the extended Joseph narrative.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

More about: Hebrew Bible, Religion & Holidays, The Monthly Portion