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Literally, He (i.e. God) will add. Son of Jacob and Rachel. The favorite child, he was given “a coat of many colors” to wear. Both a dreamer and an interpreter of dreams, Joseph aroused the jealousy of his brothers and was sold as a slave to an Egypt-bound caravan. In Egypt he gained a position of authority on the estate of his master, Potiphar, but was imprisoned because of a false accusation by Potiphar’s wife. His old skill at interpreting dreams brought his release from prison and his rise to the office of the Pharaoh’s viceroy and governor of Egypt. The stories of his dramatic reunion with his family which came down to Egypt during the years of famine in Canaan and the comfort he brought to his father who had thought Joseph dead form the final chapter in his story. Joseph was not forgotten by his people. Years later, when they fled Egypt to return to their Promised Land, they took Joseph’s embalmed body along on their 40-year journey to Canaan and gave him final burial near Shechem. Rabbinic tales and Jewish folklore have spangled the Joseph story with numerous legends. Folk plays on the theme of his life came into being as traditional entertainment for Purim, to be performed by strolling players or the townspeople themselves. The imagination of humankind has been gripped by the story, and countless dramas and tales have been written about Joseph, culminating in Thomas Mann’s great trilogy, Joseph and His Brothers.

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