6 And Joseph was handsome and good looking. 7 And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. 8 But he refused, and said to his master’s wife, Behold, my master knows not what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand; 9 There is none greater in this house than I; nor has he kept back any thing from me but you, because you are his wife; how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? 10 And it came to pass, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he listened not to her, to lie by her, or to be with her. 11 And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there inside.
12 And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me; and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got out. 13 And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and had fled out,
14 That she called to the men of her house, and spoke to them, saying, See, he has brought in a Hebrew to us to mock us; he came in to me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice; 15 And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out. 16 And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home. 17 And she spoke to him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought to us, came in to me to mock me; 18 And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out. 19 And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spoke to him, saying, After this manner did your servant to me; that his wrath was kindled. 20 (K) And Joseph’s master took him, and put him in the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined; and he was there in the prison.
Zohar Genesis 222a
So here it says that the days of Israel “drew near,” that is, without reproach and with unalloyed joy; and hence the name “Israel” is used, because it points to a greater perfection than the name Jacob. R. Jose said: “There are some righteous whose days when enumerated are put afar from the King, and others whose days are brought near to the King. It is they whose portion is blessed, and Israel was one of them.”
AND HE CALLED HIS SON JOSEPH. R. Abba said: Joseph is called Jacob’s son par excellence, because, as we have learnt, when Potiphar’s wife tempted him, he lifted up his eyes and saw the image of his father (as it says, “and there was none of the men of the house there within” (Gen. 39:11), as much as to say, “but there was someone else”), and he thereupon resisted and withdrew.
Hence it was that when Jacob came to bless his sons he said: “I know, my son, I know” (Gen. 48:19), repeating the word, as much as to say, “I know of the time when you proved in your own body that you were my son, and I also know that, as you say, this is the elder.” Another explanation why he called him specially “my son” is that they closely resembled one another, so that whoever saw Joseph could testify that he was the son of Jacob. R. Jose said that another reason was that he supported him and his family in his old age.
Used with permission of the Davka Corporation.