Turning Into Our Parents (Vayeshev)

“Now Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age; and he had made him an ornamented tunic.” (Genesis 37:3)

Without getting into the ethics of loving one child more than another, it is important to recognize that Jacob himself was raised in a home where “favorites” where chosen. Earlier we are told that: “Isaac loved Eisav…and Rebecca loved Jacob” (Genesis 25:28). Whether Jacob was reenacting the favoritism that he experienced by his mother or compensating for the lack of it from his father, it seems to have affected him. Unsurprisingly, like the previous generation, this led to family strife and divisiveness.

3 lessons:

1. By default, you are likely to reenact what you experienced as a child with your own children.

2. Be careful not to overcompensate for undesirable elements of your childhood by going to the opposite extreme.

3. Proactively determine what aspects of your upbringing you would like incorporate into your home and which you would like to ignore. For best results, get an objective person involved (friend, rabbi, therapist, teacher, etc.).