How Many Colors Were in Joseph’s Coat? And Why Does It Matter?

In the book of Genesis, the patriarch Jacob gives his son Joseph a special garment—in Hebrew, a k’tonet pasimthus inciting the jealousy of his other sons. While English-speakers are accustomed to thinking of this gift as a “coat of many colors”—or, for those exposed to the work of the English composer Andrew Lloyd Weber, a “technicolor dream coat”—the exact meaning of the term is unclear. Sarah Rudolph examines how this coat was understood by traditional Jewish commentators as a coat of fine wool, one with long sleeves, a striped robe, or yes, a multicolored one. But other rabbis, such as Rabbi Judah Loewe ben Betsalel of Prague (known as Maharal, ca. 1512-1609), also look to its symbolic meaning:

Maharal observes that if all one needed to know was what the people in the story did, and their general motivations, the details of the k’tonet pasim would be completely unnecessary. We don’t hear about every extra smile Jacob bestowed on his favorite son; what is it about this gift that makes it worth the Torah’s sacred ink?

The Maharal answers the question by delving into the fanciful interpretations of the coat found in ancient midrash, leading Rudolph to the following conclusion:

The entire story of Joseph carries a running theme of Divine planning and providence. Joseph himself alludes to it when he reveals his identity to his brothers and midrashic traditions find hints throughout to a Divine plan even greater than the one Joseph perceived, so it should be no surprise to find this central message embedded in the k’tonet pasim as well

Read more at Tradition

More about: Genesis, Hebrew Bilbe, Judaism, Maharal

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy