Interpreting Joseph’s Dreams Through the Lens of Childhood Trauma

This week’s Torah reading of Vayeshev begins the story of Joseph and his brothers, which takes up the remainder of the book of Genesis. At least, this is how the book’s narrative structure is normally understood. Yet seeing the text this way leads the reader to connect Joseph’s prescient dreams of stalks, stars, sun, and moon bowing down to him, with which the parashah begins, with what comes later, but not before. Lazarre Simckes, drawing on the modern psychological understanding of dreams as reflections of previous experiences, seeks to understand this passage with reference to the story that precedes it:

Studying the narrative leading up to the dreams will indicate that Joseph has indeed gone through significant trauma. By analyzing his astonishing dreams as we would those of a trauma survivor, we find that they do indeed have a direct source in his past, particularly the traumatic encounter with Esau and his 500 armed men, in which his terrified family all bow down to Esau, starting with Jacob, seven times to the ground, followed by the concubines and their children, Leah and her children, and finally Joseph and his mother Rachel (Genesis 33:3-7). The Joseph saga, then, begins at age seven, not seventeen, and the critical figure in the saga is Esau.

Joseph and Jacob are both entangled with Esau. Jacob played Esau to gain the birthright, and Joseph played Esau in his dreams, becoming the person the family bows down to instead of Esau to erase Esau’s potential power over the family.

Read more at Lehrhaus

More about: Esau, Genesis, Hebrew Bible, Joseph

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security