Amos 2:6 - 3:8
2:6 כֹּ֚ה אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה עַל־שְׁלֹשָׁה֙ פִּשְׁעֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְעַל־אַרְבָּעָ֖ה לֹ֣א אֲשִׁיבֶ֑נּוּ עַל־מִכְרָ֤ם בַּכֶּ֙סֶף֙ צַדִּ֔יק וְאֶבְי֖וֹן בַּעֲב֥וּר נַעֲלָֽיִם׃
2:7 הַשֹּׁאֲפִ֤ים עַל־עֲפַר־אֶ֙רֶץ֙ בְּרֹ֣אשׁ דַּלִּ֔ים וְדֶ֥רֶךְ עֲנָוִ֖ים יַטּ֑וּ וְאִ֣ישׁ וְאָבִ֗יו יֵֽלְכוּ֙ אֶל־הַֽנַּעֲרָ֔ה לְמַ֥עַן חַלֵּ֖ל אֶת־שֵׁ֥ם קָדְשִֽׁי׃
2:8 וְעַל־בְּגָדִ֤ים חֲבֻלִים֙ יַטּ֔וּ אֵ֖צֶל כָּל־מִזְבֵּ֑חַ וְיֵ֤ין עֲנוּשִׁים֙ יִשְׁתּ֔וּ בֵּ֖ית אֱלֹהֵיהֶֽם׃
2:9 וְאָ֨נֹכִ֜י הִשְׁמַ֤דְתִּי אֶת־הָֽאֱמֹרִי֙ מִפְּנֵיהֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֨ר כְּגֹ֤בַהּ אֲרָזִים֙ גָּבְה֔וֹ וְחָסֹ֥ן ה֖וּא כָּֽאַלּוֹנִ֑ים וָאַשְׁמִ֤יד פִּרְיוֹ֙ מִמַּ֔עַל וְשָׁרָשָׁ֖יו מִתָּֽחַת׃
2:10 וְאָנֹכִ֛י הֶעֱלֵ֥יתִי אֶתְכֶ֖ם מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם וָאוֹלֵ֨ךְ אֶתְכֶ֤ם בַּמִּדְבָּר֙ אַרְבָּעִ֣ים שָׁנָ֔ה לָרֶ֖שֶׁת אֶת־אֶ֥רֶץ הָאֱמֹרִֽי׃
2:11 וָאָקִ֤ים מִבְּנֵיכֶם֙ לִנְבִיאִ֔ים וּמִבַּחוּרֵיכֶ֖ם לִנְזִרִ֑ים הַאַ֥ף אֵֽין־זֹ֛את בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל נְאֻם־יְהוָֽה׃
2:12 וַתַּשְׁק֥וּ אֶת־הַנְּזִרִ֖ים יָ֑יִן וְעַל־הַנְּבִיאִים֙ צִוִּיתֶ֣ם לֵאמֹ֔ר לֹ֖א תִּנָּבְאֽוּ׃
2:13 הִנֵּ֛ה אָנֹכִ֥י מֵעִ֖יק תַּחְתֵּיכֶ֑ם כַּאֲשֶׁ֤ר תָּעִיק֙ הָעֲגָלָ֔ה הַֽמְלֵאָ֥ה לָ֖הּ עָמִֽיר׃
2:14 וְאָבַ֤ד מָנוֹס֙ מִקָּ֔ל וְחָזָ֖ק לֹא־יְאַמֵּ֣ץ כֹּח֑וֹ וְגִבּ֖וֹר לֹא־יְמַלֵּ֥ט נַפְשֽׁוֹ׃
2:15 וְתֹפֵ֤שׂ הַקֶּ֙שֶׁת֙ לֹ֣א יַעֲמֹ֔ד וְקַ֥ל בְּרַגְלָ֖יו לֹ֣א יְמַלֵּ֑ט וְרֹכֵ֣ב הַסּ֔וּס לֹ֥א יְמַלֵּ֖ט נַפְשֽׁוֹ׃
2:16 וְאַמִּ֥יץ לִבּ֖וֹ בַּגִּבּוֹרִ֑ים עָר֛וֹם יָנ֥וּס בַּיּוֹם־הַה֖וּא נְאֻם־יְהוָֽה׃
3:1 שִׁמְע֞וּ אֶת־הַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר דִּבֶּ֧ר יְהוָ֛ה עֲלֵיכֶ֖ם בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל עַ֚ל כָּל־הַמִּשְׁפָּחָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֧ר הֶעֱלֵ֛יתִי מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם לֵאמֹֽר׃
3:2 רַ֚ק אֶתְכֶ֣ם יָדַ֔עְתִּי מִכֹּ֖ל מִשְׁפְּח֣וֹת הָאֲדָמָ֑ה עַל־כֵּן֙ אֶפְקֹ֣ד עֲלֵיכֶ֔ם אֵ֖ת כָּל־עֲוֹנֹֽתֵיכֶֽם׃
3:3 הֲיֵלְכ֥וּ שְׁנַ֖יִם יַחְדָּ֑ו בִּלְתִּ֖י אִם־נוֹעָֽדוּ׃
3:4 הֲיִשְׁאַ֤ג אַרְיֵה֙ בַּיַּ֔עַר וְטֶ֖רֶף אֵ֣ין ל֑וֹ הֲיִתֵּ֨ן כְּפִ֤יר קוֹלוֹ֙ מִמְּעֹ֣נָת֔וֹ בִּלְתִּ֖י אִם־לָכָֽד׃
3:5 הֲתִפֹּ֤ל צִפּוֹר֙ עַל־פַּ֣ח הָאָ֔רֶץ וּמוֹקֵ֖שׁ אֵ֣ין לָ֑הּ הֲיַֽעֲלֶה־פַּח֙ מִן־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה וְלָכ֖וֹד לֹ֥א יִלְכּֽוֹד׃
3:6 אִם־יִתָּקַ֤ע שׁוֹפָר֙ בְּעִ֔יר וְעָ֖ם לֹ֣א יֶחֱרָ֑דוּ אִם־תִּהְיֶ֤ה רָעָה֙ בְּעִ֔יר וַיהוָ֖ה לֹ֥א עָשָֽׂה׃
3:7 כִּ֣י לֹ֧א יַעֲשֶׂ֛ה אֲדֹנָ֥י יְהוִ֖ה דָּבָ֑ר כִּ֚י אִם־גָּלָ֣ה סוֹד֔וֹ אֶל־עֲבָדָ֖יו הַנְּבִיאִֽים׃
3:8 אַרְיֵ֥ה שָׁאָ֖ג מִ֣י לֹ֣א יִירָ֑א אֲדֹנָ֤י יְהוִה֙ דִּבֶּ֔ר מִ֖י לֹ֥א יִנָּבֵֽא׃
1. Joseph's dreams
2. The selling of Joseph
3. Judah and Tamar
4. Joseph and Potiphar's wife
5. Joseph in prison
6. Dreams of the cup-bearer and the baker
From the very first line of the haftarah we can see its connection to the parasha:
"Thus said the Lord: For three transgressions of Israel,
For four, I will not revoke it:
Because they have sold for silver
Those whose cause was just,
And the needy for a pair of sandals" (Amos 2:6).
Although the prophet is railing against the people for exploiting the poor and the helpless, his words resonate with the original sin committed by Joseph's brothers, who sold him into slavery "for twenty pieces of silver" (Genesis 37:28).
Was Joseph actually a "tzaddik"(a righteous man), as he is called by the sages, who point to his ability to withstand the overtures of Potiphar's wife as proof of his righteousness—for it was not easy for him to refuse her supplications? They say that even before Potiphar's wife clung to him, he had begun to curl his hair and adorn himself with ornaments (Tanhuma Vayeshev 8). In Sota 36b they claim that Joseph and Potiphar's wife were about to make love, but Joseph reneged at the last moment, because he saw his father's reflection in the window. He dug his fingers into the earth and refused to climb into her bed. Given this description, Joseph was not a perfect human being who was never troubled by darker impulses; on the contrary, he was a man who constantly struggled with temptation and only at the last minute was able to save himself.*
Joseph treated his employer, Potiphar, fairly. For Amos, justice—or righteousness, "tzedek"-- is the supreme value. A society that is not grounded in justice has no right to exist; it will be punished and will disintegrate. This is the danger facing the people of Israel because of the unjust way they treat their weaker members. Selling the tzaddik was not the only sin perpetrated by those
"who trample the heads of the poor
Into the dust of the ground,
And make the humble walk a twisted course.
Father and son go to the same young woman
And thereby profane My holy name;
They recline by every altar
On garments taken in pledge,
And drink in the House of their God
Wine bought with fines they imposed" (Amos 2:7-8)
It is just because of the special relationship between God and Israel that He demands of them a higher standard of moral behavior than He expects from other nations. The punishment for failure to meet that standard will also be harsher:
"Hear this word, O people of Israel,
That the Lord has spoken concerning you,
Concerning the whole family that I brought up from the
Land of Egypt:
You alone have I singled out
Of all the families of the earth—
Therefore I will call you to account
For all your iniquities" (Amos 3:1-2).
Just as Joseph withstood the temptation of illicit sexual relations and was faithful to Potiphar, so, too, is the nation of Israel called upon to withstand the temptations of greed, injustice and desecration of God's name, and to deal righteously with all its members.
* Thanks to Rabbi Yaron Ben David, http://www.beerot.co.il
Rinah Sheleff is a retired lecturer in Bible Studies at the Kibbutzim College of Education, Tel Aviv. She specialized in teaching methodologies that incorporate the creative arts as a way of emotionally connecting students with the human dilemmas inherent in Bible stories. Rinah is also a professional storyteller and a movement instructor. Currently she is working with a team of storytellers on a project designed to make Talmudic and Hassidic stories accessible to the public at large. She is a founding member of a women's Rosh Hodesh group that has been meeting for over 20 years, and was also active in creating the Tali School in Hod HaSharon. And she loves Susie Dvoskin.
I was born in Guatemala and made Aliyah with my family at age 8. My family stumbled across the Masorti movement and I went through the NOAM Youth movement. I learned how to read Torah and Haftara almost as an afterthought (with thanks to my mentor and friend Nurit Novis ) and have been reading ever since. My professional path has slalomed between occupational therapy and Jewish Education and has taken my family and me to two adventures of Shlichut- 4 years as the Far West USY shlicha and another 3 years in Chicago as the Jewish Agency representative to the Midwest. I currently reside in Kibbutz Hannaton with my husband and three children and serve as the Educational director of the kibbutz and the Educational Director of the Educational Center of Hannaton.