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This profile was last updated on 7/28/13  and contains information from public web pages.

Joseph Yerushalmi

Wrong Joseph Yerushalmi?

Historian

Phone: (212) ***-****  HQ Phone
Columbia University
64 Morningside Dr.
New York, New York 10027
United States

Company Description: Founded in 1922, Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health pursues an agenda of research, education, and service to address the critical and complex...   more
6 Total References
Web References
Rabbi Ken Spiro
www.kenspiro.com, 28 July 2013 [cached]
Columbia University historian, Joseph Yerushalmi, who wrote an excellent, highly-praised book called Zahor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory, says that "If Herodotus was the father of history, the father of meaning in history was the Jews."
Columbia University historian ...
www.forward.com, 25 Dec 2008 [cached]
Columbia University historian Joseph Yerushalmi argued a decade ago that "racial" biology was not an invention of 19th-century Europe, as it already had existed in late medieval Spain.
Columbia University historian, ...
www.dunamai.com, 24 Aug 2009 [cached]
Columbia University historian, Joseph Yerushalmi, who wrote an excellent, highly-praised book called Zahor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory , says that "If Herodotus was the father of history, the father of meaning in history was the Jews."
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The Jewish story begins in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 12, when God first speaks to Abraham, and continues through to the end with the death of Jacob and Joseph.
Columbia University historian, ...
www.art-eva-galleria.com, 22 Oct 2008 [cached]
Columbia University historian, Joseph Yerushalmi, who wrote an excellent, highly-praised book called Zahor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory, says that "If Herodotus was the father of history, the father of meaning in history was the Jews."
...
The Jewish story begins in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 12, when God first speaks to Abraham, and continues through to the end with the death of Jacob and Joseph.
...
The story of Joseph demonstrates a classic historic pattern of the Jew in Diaspora. The Jew arrives impoverished, works hard despite deprivation, and rises to the top.
Had Jacob married Rachel as he had intended -- instead of being tricked into marrying Leah -- Joseph would have likely been his first-born son. Although he was Jacob's 11th son, he dominates the narrative of the 12 brothers, and, in his story, we see a great many historical patterns.
To begin with, Joseph has a key position in the family as a result of his being the long-awaited first child of Jacob's favorite wife. His father seems to be showing him a considerable amount of favoritism -- he buys him a special coat -- and this engenders jealousy from his brothers.
However, it would be a mistake to view their behavior simplistically, as typical of a dysfunctional family. While these people without a doubt make mistakes, spiritually they are on an incredibly high level. So we have to look deeply at what is really going on here.
Joseph is having dreams and he interprets those dreams. As we learn, he has a special gift for dream interpretation, and his dreams and interpretations are accurate and prophetic. He tells his brothers, for example, that one day they will bow to him (which does indeed happen some years later).
The brothers conclude that Joseph must be the bad apple in their generation and decide to get rid of him.
But to his brothers his dreams appear to verge on megalomania. And since they know that they are the team that's supposed to change the world, they think he is endangering the whole future of humanity. They know the family history -- that in each generation there was one "bad apple" -- first Ishmael, then Esau. So they conclude that Joseph must be the bad one in this generation.
They contemplate killing him, but instead they sell him into slavery. They take his fancy coat, smear it with goat's blood and present it to Jacob as if Joseph had been killed by a wild animal.
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So to throw young Joseph into this environment is bad news. Very bad news.
A SLAVE RISES TO THE TOP
Separated from the influence of his family at an early age, Joseph has a major disadvantage for a licentious society -- he is very handsome.
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Besides that, Joseph has a lot going for him -- he is very smart and hardworking and he rises from his position as lowly teenage servant to head of Potiphar's household. This is the classic historic pattern of the Jew in the Diaspora -- he comes in impoverished, deals with a bad situation, works hard, rises to the top.
Now Potiphar's wife is not happy that Joseph refuses her advances. Eventually, she picks a time when everyone is out of the house attending a national celebration and she tries to rip his clothes off. He runs away. She screams rape.
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Joseph is now in prison and he rises very quickly to be the head prisoner. He's running the whole place. This again is the Jew.
Into prison is thrown Pharaoh's wine steward and Pharaoh's baker. And they have dreams. Now as we know Joseph is the master dream interpreter, and therefore it's not surprising that Joseph interprets these dreams and he tells the wine steward that the Pharaoh is going to reinstate him into his position, and he tells the baker that he's going to lose his head.
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They take Joseph out of prison; they shower him, shave him and bring him before Pharaoh. When he hears the dream, Joseph tells the Pharaoh: "There's going to be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine."
"What should I do?" asks the Pharaoh. And Joseph says, "You'd better stockpile all the grain in Egypt so that when the famine hits you'll have what to eat." Pharaoh says, "You thought of it, you do it."
And this is how Joseph becomes Viceroy, for all practical purposes the most powerful man in the whole land in terms of infrastructure of Egypt, the most powerful empire at the time. How's that for promotion -- from prisoner to viceroy. And he marries -- Osnat, the daughter of Potiphar.
Before the famine hits he has two children, Menashe and Ephraim. To this day, observant Jews bless their children every Friday night to be like Ephraim and Menashe. Why? First, unlike all the previous brothers in the Bible -- Cain and Abel, Ishmael and Isaac, Jacob and Esau -- they love each other and are not jealous of each other's accomplishments. Second, because these kids grow up as sons of the Viceroy, they could have been totally assimilated, spoiled, Egyptian brats, yet it's very clear that they grow up completely loyal proto-Jews in an incredibly hostile environment.
Now that Joseph is Viceroy the stage is set for his early dreams to come true, when he saw his brothers bowing before him.
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Joseph realizes that through the generations, the family has created a rut of hatred among the brothers. To remedy the situation, he sets the stage for a great test.
An interesting thing happens in the Bible right in the middle of the Joseph story. Suddenly the story stops. We leave off Joseph and return to the land of Canaan to pick up the story of Judah, the fourth oldest of the 12 brothers.
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These are the very words that Judah had spoken to his father Jacob, when -- after having sold Joseph into slavery -- he and his brothers took Joseph's coat and smeared it with the blood of a goat. They had claimed at the time that Joseph must have been devoured by wild animals.
With the words that remind him of his great sin echoing in his head, Judah confesses, "She is more righteous than I."
Through his admission of guilt, Judah becomes the first person in the Bible to accept responsibility willingly, thereby becoming the archetypal example of sincere and wholehearted repentance. In this he is the model Jewish leader, and the mantle of kingship will forever after belong to the tribe of Judah. His descendants will be King David and King Solomon, as well as the prophesied Messiah. Indeed, the Jews are called Jews after Judah.
The stage is now set for the repentance of the brothers and their reunion with Joseph.
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Now Joseph realizes that through the generations, the family has created a rut of hatred among the brothers. And he realizes that it is time to get rid of that, and that the only way to do that is by repentance.
The Jewish way of repentance is that you find yourself in the same situation, but you don't repeat that mistake. You show that you've changed.
Joseph realizes that he now has a great chance to put his brothers back in the same situation.
THE TEST
So first, he accuses them of being spies. They insist they are not spies, they are just brothers of a family, that they have a father and a brother back home.
If that is true, says Joseph, go back and bring the other brother.
They are now starting to figure out that this is all happening to them because of what they did to Joseph.
...
But Joseph insists and makes them go back and bring back Benjamin.
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With that Joseph starts to cry and reveals his true identity at last: "I am Joseph, is my father still alive?"
This is one of the great moments in the Bible as the brothers stare in shock at their long-lost brother, now an Egyptian Viceroy.
DIVINE PLAN
And then Joseph makes what is clearly one of the most significant statements in terms of understanding Jewish history:
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Joseph, who was a very intelligent person with a tremendous faith in God, realized that his enslavement was part of a Divine plan, that he had to go to Egypt, because this was all part of this huge cosmic historical process.
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To get the first few pieces into place -- as Joseph is doing -- it takes enormous effort.
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Joseph sees that. He sends word back to his father, and Jacob is overjoyed. He thought his son has been dead for all these years. And they have a dramatic reunion. All of Egypt comes out to see the Viceroy's family. And they are all bowing to Joseph in fulfillment of the prophecy.
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But when the Book of Genesis ends -- with the deaths of Jacob and Joseph -- everything is still okay.
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At th
The Bible as History
www.simpletoremember.com, 4 July 2005 [cached]
Columbia University historian, Joseph Yerushalmi, who wrote an excellent, highly-praised book called Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory, says that "If Herodotus was the father of history, the father of meaning in history was the Jews."
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