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

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Read more at Tradition

More about: Genesis, Hebrew Bilbe, Judaism, Maharal

As Vladimir Putin Sidles Up to the Mullahs, the Threat to the U.S. and Israel Grows

On Tuesday, Russia launched an Iranian surveillance satellite into space, which the Islamic Republic will undoubtedly use to increase the precision of its military operations against its enemies. The launch is one of many indications that the longstanding alliance between Moscow and Tehran has been growing stronger and deeper since the Kremlin’s escalation in Ukraine in February. Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, and Katherine Lawlor write:

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi have spoken at least four times since the invasion began—more than either individual has engaged most other world leaders. Putin visited Tehran in July 2022, marking his first foreign travel outside the territory of the former Soviet Union since the war began. These interactions reflect a deepening and potentially more balanced relationship wherein Russia is no longer the dominant party. This partnership will likely challenge U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe.

Tehran has traditionally sought to purchase military technologies from Moscow rather than the inverse. The Kremlin fielding Iranian drones in Ukraine will showcase these platforms to other potential international buyers, further benefitting Iran. Furthermore, Russia has previously tried to limit Iranian influence in Syria but is now enabling its expansion.

Deepening Russo-Iranian ties will almost certainly threaten U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe. Iranian material support to Russia may help the Kremlin achieve some of its military objectives in Ukraine and eastern Europe. Russian support of Iran’s nascent military space program and air force could improve Iranian targeting and increase the threat it poses to the U.S. and its partners in the Middle East. Growing Iranian control and influence in Syria will enable the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [to use its forces in that country] to threaten U.S. military bases in the Middle East and our regional partners, such as Israel and Turkey, more effectively. Finally, Moscow and Tehran will likely leverage their deepening economic ties to mitigate U.S. sanctions.

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Read more at Critical Threats

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Russia, U.S. Security, Vladimir Putin