Clothes Don’t Make the Man
Parashat Mikeitz

Dena Weiss

Yosef’s story is one of extreme and often abrupt transitions.  From beloved son to despised brother, from abject powerlessness and poverty to the authority of a prominent Egyptian household, Yosef moves in and out of favor, in and out of prison.  He is constantly shifting in his status and his relationships to others. In Parashat Mikeitz, we see the most dramatic of these twists of Yosef’s fate when he is freed from prison and invited into Pharaoh’s house.  There, he interprets Pharaoh’s dreams and becomes his second in command. One common thread woven through Yosef’s story is the way that the characters in it denote his status by giving him clothing, noting his clothing, and sometimes even taking it away.  Why is the role of clothing so prominent in Yosef’s life and what does it tell us about his character?

 
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