Extract from a story in Issue 18, December 22, 2008 of The Jerusalem Report. To subscribe to The Jerusalem Report click here. The Torah portion Vayeshev, Genesis 37-40, is read on Shabbat, December 20 The story of Joseph teaches that dream and dreamer cannot be separated - Joseph's dreams are inextricably connected to his personality. It also teaches that both dream and dreamer might be resisted, but they cannot be denied. Indeed, in such cases, the more outlandish the dream/dreamer, the fiercer the resistance, but proportionally the greater their realization. The second and third verses of Genesis 37 can be read as: "These are the generations of Jacob: Joseph, 17 years old, shepherded his brothers with the flock; he was a lad [na'ar] with the children of Bilhah, the children of Zilpah, his father's wives. Joseph brought their evil report to their father. And Israel loved Joseph from all his children, for he was the child of his old age and he made him a many-colored coat." Joseph is charismatic and plays different roles - at 17, he maturely shepherds his brothers and the flock, according to the 15th-16th century Italian commentator Sforno, and, as Rashi interprets the word na'ar, he is simultaneously flirtatious, "fluffing his hair, fixing his eyes to look pretty." He also acts the moral judge, by reporting what he considers his brothers' wrongdoings. The brothers, seeing all that and, moreover, that Dad loved Joseph more, "hated him, and couldn't greet him" (v. 4). Joseph's dreams center around himself. "Vayahalom Yosef halom" - literally, "dreamed Joseph a dream," puts the subject between the verb and the noun, and thus places Joseph at the center of his dream. The brothers see it that way: "and he told his brothers, and indeed they increased [vayosifu] hating him." It was the Yosef (his Hebrew name and the Hebrew for "increase") that points to the egocentricity that caused their hatred. According to the 19th century Italian commentator Shadal, that is a first, undetailed dream. In the detailed dreams that follow, the content confirms this self-importance: The brothers' sheaves bow to his erect sheaf; celestial beings bow to him. Rabbi Daniel Landes is director of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. Sheryl Robbin is a writer and social worker. They are married and live with their family in Jerusalem. Extract from a story in Issue 18, December 22, 2008 of The Jerusalem Report. To subscribe to The Jerusalem Report click here.