Last week Joseph’s brothers threw him into a pit then sat down to a meal together. This week when the brothers came to Joseph for food during the famine, he invited them to sit down to a meal together. I don’t remember any story so far that included discussion about having a meal together.
At our house, we eat dinner together nearly every night. The odd night that we don’t eat together is rare. And we all look forward to dinner. Even the kids. It’s the one time of day that we can rely on to talk. Sometimes to argue. Sometimes to sit silently and eat. Lots of times we are able to repair whatever we’ve broken….feelings, confidence. It was like that when I was growing up. We always ate together, and usually there were people that we weren’t even related to eating with us. Everyone liked eating at my mother’s table, and it wasn’t just because she was a great cook. It was because we talked and argued and laughed a lot. It’s because that was where we lived together.
And that’s what my children have learned…we live together at the table. If dinnertime were taken away from us tomorrow, I can’t even imagine how damaging that would be to my family. I don’t know how we’d replace the quality of that little piece of the day.
I’m trying to figure out how this fits into Joseph’s story. Maybe after the brothers threw him into a pit they needed to sit down together to figure out how to pull off their crime. They needed the amount of time that a meal takes to discuss their plans. Then, when Joseph asked his brothers to share a meal when they came begging for food, maybe he wanted them to suffer through a meal, wondering how me might punish them. Or maybe he wanted to spend a meal enjoying their company. Or maybe he just wanted them to to all enjoy a meal together for the first time in so many years. Or maybe he wanted to show off his prosperity by offering a lavish meal.
It just seems significant that the brothers shared a meal when they sold Joseph, and now they are sharing a meal again. I wonder what Rashi says….