Tearing The Robe

When Joseph’s brothers *looked down the well* into which they had dropped him not so long ago, and they saw he was no longer in it, they were puzzled.

“Did little brother suddenly grow wings and fly off?” wondered Levi.

The brothers looked into the sky and saw only an eagle.

“That eagle doesn’t look like little brother”, said Simeon, “So who knows.”

“What do we tell Father?” said Levi.

“We tell him that wild animals got little brother”,  said Simeon, “And we make it look authentic.”

The brothers took Joseph’s robe of many colours that they’d ripped off him before dropping him down the well. They tore it up and dipped it in the blood of a dead goat. Then they set off for the journey back to their father, Jacob’s, home in Canaan.


On seeing his sons, Jacob was all smiles.

“Welcome home, boys. It’s good to see you all after so long. I don’t see Joseph. Where’s my beloved baby boy?”

“Well, it’s like this, Father” said Simeon, “Joseph’s……..no longer with us.”

“What do you mean, ‘he’s no longer with us’? Where is he, then?”

Simeon took Joseph’s shredded and bloody robe out of a bag. “Some wild animals killed him, Father.”

“I know what’s happening, which is that I’m asleep and having a nightmare”, said Jacob. “I expect I’ll soon wake up. Yes, that’s it. Ha ha ha. Do you ever get nightmares, boys, so real that you think it’s really happening? Then you wake up and are so happy it was only a dream?”

“Er……..sometimes”, said Simeon.

“This dream’s gone on long enough, and is an unpleasant a nightly dream as I’ve ever had. Now, I must wake up.”

Jacob began jumping up and down and slapping his cheeks, and saying, “Wake up, Jacob, wake up.”

After a while of this, Jacob said, “This is an especially stubborn dream, boys. Bear with me, will you, a few moments more.”

Jacob resumed jumping up and down and slapping his cheeks.

“Father, this isn’t a dream”, said Simeon, “It’s real. Our baby brother is dead. You’ll just have to get over it.”


Jacob, slowly realising this wasn’t a dream, began weeping, and wept without stopping for many, many days. He changed his clothes for a sackcloth, and was never quite the same again.

Source: Genesis 37, 30-36

This entry was posted in Jacob, Joseph, Levi, Simeon and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Tearing The Robe

  1. jenny says:

    In stunned silence, she thought: “Christopher has been writing posts on (yet) another blog without any mention of it to some readers?”

    Then she consoled herself: “I know what’s happening. I’m asleep and having a nightmare.”

    Jenny, slowly realizing this wasn’t a dream, began weeping, and wept without stop for many, many days. She changed her clothes for sackcloth, and was never quite the same again.


  2. Christopher says:

    That I would begin yet another blog without telling anyone is at first sight shocking, and could well cause faithful readers to weep many days.

    Be consoled that I’ve merely gone back to the first blog I had, and have resumed where I left off five years ago. Blogwise I’ve arrived where I started, and know the place for the first time.

    Be consoled also that this other blog would interest only me, for it’s merely a sort of on-line note-book in which I’m putting down the odd random thought on things I read or see.

    It was merely for the hell of it that I put its’ link on the sidebar of this site.

    So now, stop weeping, remove your sackcloth and…………boogie.

  3. jenny says:

    You made me laugh. I am, in fact, heading out to a 6:30 AM dance class.

    Andreas addressed this question of writing just for one’s self with some skepticism. The line (not original to AK) was: “Sure. Everyday I make a great big fancy cake…so I can eat it all by myself.” I’ve thought about that quite a bit.

    About your post, though: the sibling discord in these stories (all of them!) tells the truth, I think. Another something I think about a bit. When you’re the parent, you yearn for children to be friends; when you’re the child, it’s so difficult to make it happen.

  4. dafna says:

    Alpha et Omega

    speaking of cake… Richard has also a new blog which few people seem to eat.

    my parents never encouraged a friendship between my sister and I. they are to blame! my sister and i are strangers to this day.

    how short sighted, when the parents are gone and before, i hope that Jacob has his Skylar (brother from another mother) to befriend.

  5. Christopher says:

    @Jenny – ….I am…..heading out to a 6:30 AM dance class…..


    …..Everyday I make a great big fancy cake…so I can eat it all by myself……

    Since I’m not big on cake, I would want to have someone help me eat it.

    But, should a huge and tasty meat pie with lots of gravy, mushy peas, and mashed potatoes, be put before me, I would want to eat it all by myself.

    @Jenny and Dafna – Why must siblings be friends?

    While it’s better if they are, what if, in a family where the mother and father have nothing in common and find each other abhorrent, one sibling takes after the mother, and the other the father?

    I suggest in this case (and this is arguably the case in most families) the siblings would find each other as abhorrent, as do their mother and father of each other.

    How could the siblings get along?

  6. jenny says:

    It is never too early for Zumba…or too late. I went to a Zumba black light party this weekend. (Have you been to one of those, dafna?) It was little bit like a junior high dance, without the boys standing against the wall, feeling uncomfortable and making the girls uncomfortable.

    Christopher, this is a particularly awful view of family you put forth today. Have you been reading Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

  7. Christopher says:

    …….Have you been reading Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?…….

    I’ve always found Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf a mesmerising film, that I can never see too many times, no doubt because it embodies the sort of Family Values that I love.

    It’s time I gave it another viewing………..

  8. Christopher says:

    Regarding the topic of writing for just one’s self.

    It’s of course always nice to have one’s writing read by others. I, myself, like it whenever anyone reads what I write on the internet. But, if absolutely no-one reads what I write, I would continue writing on the internet anyway.

    As it is, this “Since Time Began” blog has two or three regular readers at most, and my “From the Horse’s Mouth” blog has no regular readers as far as I know. However, I will continue with them because I write principally for myself, and only secondarily for others.

    If I really want to have others read what I write, I can always leave comments on widely-read blogs, like Hannibal and Me, or even Sweat and Sprezzatura!! And, even if the blog I leave a comment on has no readers, I can be reasonably sure that at least the blog-owner will read my comment. One reader, after all, is better than none.

    If I leave long comments that I think say something worthwhile, I paste them also onto my “From the Horse’s Mouth” blog as separate postings.

    For perspective, consider that before the internet came along, most writing was never read. Given that only a small percentage of novels are ever published, nearly all the novels that have been written, have been destroyed unread, or languish in dusty desk drawers or in attics and basements, never to be read. This happens even with most novels written today.

    With the internet, there has never been a better time for a writer than today. Dead writers from the past, wherever they are now, must be so disappointed that they weren’t born within the last fifty years.

  9. dafna says:


    you gave me a chill up my spine! i have never read or watch “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” but you described my parents perfectly. and they are still married.

    my sister and i do “take after” one parent more than the other, but we were forced by each parent to “take a side”. my sister was to side with my mother and i with my dad (yes, according to our personalities). your description of this awful family was scary accurate.

    it was always my hope that after my sister left home she would see this dynamic and want to be “sisterly”. alas, it never happened. as an adult i like to think i inherited a bit of the good from each parent.

    of course we can make our own “families”, but i think siblings should be encouraged to bond. it’s a cold lonely world, a support system comes in handy.


    Zumba?!?! are you trying to kill me? forget about junior high, i was a wallflower and a virgin all through high school. oddly related… it might sound vain, but until the age of 34, i was considered gorgeous. people would compare me to sean young and tell me i should be a model or actress.

    it was strange, i knew i was better than average looking but had no clue what to do with it! hence a lifelong wallflower, a bit more wilted by age.

  10. Christopher says:

    @Dafna and Jenny – When I, in so many words, said in an earlier comment that, arguably, most families are ones where the mother and father find each other abhorrent, I was careful to put in the words “arguably” and “most”.

    So I left it open that only a minority of families are like this. Hence most families may, in fact, be well-adjusted and happy, like Ozzie and Harriet Nelson’s, or Ward and June Cleaver’s.

    But, on thinking more about this, I’m not so sure.

    Mothers and fathers of the generations before mine, stayed together because divorce was socially unacceptable, and because most wives were financially dependent on their husbands, and so couldn’t leave them even if they wanted to. Hence they were little more than slaves under a harsh owner.

    Given that fifty percent of couples today divorce, because, no doubt, they find each other abhorrent, it is reasonable to suppose that in fifty percent of families in the generations before mine, the mothers and fathers found each other abhorrent.

    Which means that of my generation, at least half grew up in a family in which the mother and the father found the other abhorrent. But, unlike with mothers and fathers today, they had to stay together.

    So, in the generations before mine, the relationship between George and Martha (the couple in “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf) was, arguably, more the norm, than the relationship between Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, or between Ward and June Cleaver.

    This is arguably still the case, since the current divorce rate of fifty per cent means that fifty percent of families still together are waiting to split, because arguably the mothers and fathers find each other abhorrent.

  11. jenny says:

    Dafna: Looks? Who cares? I dance, sea lo que sea.

    Arguably, Christopher, everybody behaves like George and Martha. At times. Even scarier than your percentages.

  12. dafna says:


    you make some good points. and i hate to argue 🙂 no argument that people who abhor each other stay together. just questions about your theory that they stay based on need.

    so how do you think the fact that women have more opportunity to enter the work force (disregarding pay discrepancy) factors into your theory?

    i have three example that support your theory, my parents, my sister and her husband and my ex and his new wife. although, the woman earns more in the last example and my sister has a high earning potential “in theory”.

    i also have a friend that does not support the theory, his wife is great at earning money, he is a house husband and they don’t abhor each other. and of course if i wanted to marry someone i abhorred for financial reasons, well Q.E.D. perhaps i am the exception to the theory? i would choose poverty over financial security and an unhappy marriage.

  13. dafna says:


    i wish i was not in pain, i would zumba… yes to reverse the sands of time and look as healthy and young as you.

    sitting on my ass and watching a movie won’t get me zumba results. i would settle for being pain free enough to engage in anything that would release endorphins.

    ya sabes por qué “zamba” 😉

  14. Christopher says:

    @Dafna – ……how do you think the fact that women have more opportunity to enter the work force…….factors into your theory?….

    It factors into the theory inasmuch that, despite women today no longer being financially dependent on their Significant Others, their choices of men still seem as faulty as ever, based on the fifty percent divorce rate.

    In my earlier comments I had suggested that couples would either be like Ozzie and Harriet, or like George and Martha. These are extremes I must admit.

    How about something in between, like Newt and Marianne?

  15. dafna says:

    he he he absolutely no arguing with that conclusion 😉

    but do you think that women are more prone to faulty choices? maybe this is a sad story as old as time where both sexes seem to couple and stay coupled for lousy reasons.

    my base of observation has only five examples… so the results are skewed by default.

  16. jenny says:

    A 90-year-old man and his wife come to see their rabbi. They want a divorce.
    –What? After all these years together, suddenly you want a divorce? What changed?
    –Nothing changed, rabbi. We’ve been talking about splitting up for over 65 years now.
    –So why didn’t you come see me sooner.
    –We were waiting for the kids to die.

  17. dafna says:

    off topic, for my friends who like etymology… there is a show made only for hulu (free web tv) , the main character’s last name is “Balagan” which means the same in russian as in hebrew 😉

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