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No Water in the Pit?

For December 12, 2022

Vayeishev, Bereshit 37:18

וַיִּרְא֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ מֵרָחֹ֑ק וּבְטֶ֙רֶם֙ יִקְרַ֣ב אֲלֵיהֶ֔ם וַיִּֽתְנַכְּל֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ לַהֲמִיתֽוֹ׃

"They saw him from afar, and before he reached them, they conspired against him to put him to death."

Water is a metaphor for the humility required in studying the Torah. As the Talmud states, the Torah is compared to water because

"just as water seeks its lowest level, so does the Torah only endure within one who is humble."

The brothers were lacking this "water" and therefore misinterpreted the Torah.

Their lack of humility is alluded to the in verse regarding the pit into which they threw Joseph: "The pit was empty in that there was no water in it." The pit alludes to the brothers, who were empty of the "water"-aspect of the Torah.

The Lack of Water

Many Noahids grew up in other religions and learned to read and interpret the Tanach through principles and theories prevailing within those systems. They were prideful systems that thought they could study the Torah without the spiritual guidance of the Jewish people. Their waters muddied and eventually dried up.

We can therefore interpret the story of Joseph in a broader context as the nations throwing the Jewish people into a waterless well. A pit full of dangers, scorpions and snakes. But just as the scorpions and snakes did not bite Joseph, and all this was the beginning of his exalted state as viceroy of Egypt, so the time of the Diaspora makes the Jewish people viceroys of the whole physical world. Eventually, the brothers would show their humbleness to Joseph by bowing before him. This submission is the beginning of receiving the bread, knowledge of Torah.

The Lack of Bread

The brothers were invited to Joseph's house for a meal, a meal of water, bread and wine. Thus, Noahide are invited to Joseph, the Jewish people to receive in humility the words of Torah to learn in this way to make the right choices between good and evil - symbolised by the wine.

Let us be humble and learn

A good way to learn is to take classes at Orach Chaim - Way of Life Study Program

Brought By Angelique Sijbolts


Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the Noahide Academy. She has been an observant Noahide for many years. She studies Torah with Rabbi Perets every week. Angelique invests much of her time in editing video-lectures for the Rabbis of the Academy and contributes in administrating the Academy's website in English and Dutch. She lives in the north of the Netherlands. Married and mother of two sons. She works as a teacher in a school with students with special needs. And is a Hebrew Teacher for the levels beginners and intermediate. She likes to walk, to read and play the piano.




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