November 17, 2018

Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Vayeshev with Rabbi Debra Landsberg

Our guest this week is Rabbi Debra Landsberg, leader of the Emanu-El congregation in Toronto, Canada. Rabbi Landsberg has served Temple Emanu-El since 2001. She is currently the Chairperson of the Reform Rabbis of Greater Toronto and the Vice-President of the Toronto Board of Rabbis and is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of The Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. She has served on the Canadian Association of Muslims and Jews and on the Coalition of Canadian Rabbis for Same Sex Marriage. Rabbi Landsberg received her Bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Harvard University. After Harvard, Rabbi Landsberg worked as the senior educator/counsellor at the CAPABLE Project in the Bronx Psychiatric Center, before being ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (1996). While in Rabbinic school, she served as Steinhardt Scholar/Rabbinic intern at Vanderbilt University and pastoral counsellor at the Momentum AIDS Project in New York. Before joining Temple Emanu-El, Rabbi Landsberg served 5 years at The Temple in Atlanta. 

This week's Torah portion – Parashat Vayeshev (Genesis 37:1-40:23) – features the first part of the story of Joseph and his brothers. It begins with Joseph's dreams and continues to tell us about how he was sold into slavery by his brothers, about the affair with Potiphar's wife, and about the beginnings of his career as an interpreter of dreams. Additionally, the portion features the story of Judah and Tamar. Our discussion focuses on the similarities and contrasts between the two strong female heroes of the parasha, Tamar and Potiphar’s wife.

Our past discussions of Vayeshev:  

Rabbi Reuven Leigh on the relation between the story of Judah and Tamar and the story of Joseph.

Rabbi Harold Robinson on the role of fate in the story of Joseph.