In my understanding, the whole story of the brother's revenge to Yossef started with Yossef's dreams, which he told his father and brothers.

Yossef wasn't a prophet, he showed no signs of genius or fulfilling of his previous dreams. Nevertheless, the brothers believed the story so much they plotted to kill him and see if the dreams will come true (Gen 37, 20):

"וְעַתָּה לְכוּ וְנַהַרְגֵהוּ וְנַשְׁלִכֵהוּ בְּאַחַד הַבֹּרוֹת וְאָמַרְנוּ חַיָּה רָעָה אֲכָלָתְהוּ וְנִרְאֶה מַה־יִּהְיוּ חֲלֹמֹתָיו׃

"Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we can say, ‘A savage beast devoured him.’ We shall see what comes of his dreams!

When we read the Torah it comes to us naturally postfactum, after reading Parshos Miketz and Vayigash, but they didn't know it.

What was the reason they took his dreams seriously, especially after Yaakov himself asserted that it was meaningless?

  • One can also ask rashi says in vayechi only shimon and levi wanted to kill him so how was this din torah done when only 2 out of 9 said kill him.
    – patient
    Dec 10, 2018 at 12:35
  • @patient I think you should put your comment here: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/87879/…
    – Al Berko
    Dec 10, 2018 at 12:44
  • How do you know they took his dreams seriously? Maybe they just hated someone who would have the audacity to spread delusions about himself that obviously show he wants to usurp his older brothers? Dec 10, 2018 at 12:52
  • @DavidKenner I said, because they plotted to kill him TO SEE if the dreams will come true. "נראה מה יהיו חלמתיו".
    – Al Berko
    Dec 10, 2018 at 12:54
  • 3
    Isn't that just scoffing at best? "Here comes the dreamer...ha ha" Besides, how would they know if he really had a dream? Dec 10, 2018 at 12:55

2 Answers 2


The OP accepts that the "brothers' revenge" started with "Yossef's dreams".

However, this is not entirely the case.

The problem started with Yossef's slander against his brothers, reported to their father, Yaakov.

Gen. 37:2 "...and Joseph brought evil tales about them to their father."

The situation was then irritated further in Gen. 37:4:

"And his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, so they hated him, and they could not speak with him peacefully."

So jealousy was another reason.

In fact, slander and jealousy continued to be the underlying reasons behind the ill feelings between Yossef and his brothers. The dreams merely added to the overall negativity of the situation.

After the first dream the verse says:

Gen. 37:8 "And they continued further to hate him on account of his dreams and on account of his words.

Rashi: "and on account of his words: Because of the evil tales that he would bring to their father."

After the second dream the verse says:

Gen. 37:11 "So his brothers envied him, but his father awaited the matter."

So we see that envy and slander were still the fuel of the hatred. The dreams were just an additional annoying catalyst.

(Contrary to the OP's assumption, we also find that Yossef was someone who could at least have "shown signs of genius" at this time:

Gen 37:3 "And Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was a son of his old age; and he made him a fine woolen coat."

Rashi; 2nd explanation: "a son of his old age: Heb. - בֶן זְקֻנִים, for he was born to him in his old age (Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 38). Onkelos rendered: for he was a wise son to him. Whatever he had learned from Shem and Eber he gave over to him. ...")

So what about the verse: "וְעַתָּה לְכוּ וְנַהַרְגֵהוּ וְנַשְׁלִכֵהוּ בְּאַחַד הַבֹּרוֹת וְאָמַרְנוּ חַיָּה רָעָה אֲכָלָתְהוּ וְנִרְאֶה מַה־יִּהְיוּ חֲלֹמֹתָיו"׃

"Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we can say, ‘A savage beast devoured him.’ We shall see what comes of his dreams!”


Rashi tells us that the brothers actually did not say the last part: "We shall see what comes of his dreams!"

It was said by Hashem Himself.

Rashi: "and we will see what will become of his dreams: Rabbi Isaac said, This verse says: “Expound on me.” [I.e., this verse demands a midrashic interpretation.] The Holy Spirit says thus: They (the brothers) say, “Let us kill him,” but the verse concludes: “and we will see what will become of his dreams.” Let us see whose word will stand up, yours or Mine. It is impossible that they (the brothers) are saying,“and we will see what will become of his dreams,” because, since they will kill him, his dreams will come to nought."

But even if they did mention the dreams when being annoyed at him, (in addition to the slander and jealousy) it does not prove they believed he even had a dream; or that the dreams meant anything.

Rather, it simply could mean that they were threatened by a brother who liked to advertise he was going to rule over them.

  • It's a strange approach, instead of thinking on the question, proving the OP wrong. It's perfectly OK if you disagree and you have your points, but you can not argue on my personal interpretation backed by the Psukim and tons of interpreters. THe Torah puts so much emphasis on the dreams and you're saying - no big deal.
    – Al Berko
    Dec 10, 2018 at 16:39
  • Hmm, i thought on the question...and came to conclude through that process...that the OP is wrong :) Are you saying i cannot argue on your personal interpretation even if i have psukim and tons of interpreters? OR do you mean you have psukim and tons of interpreters? If you have... you didn't show us yet. :) Your main thrust was the posuk that said "we will see what becomes..." and Rashi holds they never said it. So? Dec 11, 2018 at 2:34
  • What are the tons of interpreters who say that the brothers tried to kill Yosef to see if his dreams will come true? From what I've seen that's not the standard approach...
    – robev
    Dec 11, 2018 at 13:09

I read somewhere that the brothers knew that his dreams will become true as later was revealed because they also dreamed about it.

This is why Pharoh crowned him - not because he solved his dreams, but because Pharoh also dreamed the solution to the dream ,and when Josef told the solution, Pharoh knew immidiately that Josef was the man he was looking for crowning at his side.

  • Pharoah dreamed the solution but forgot it until Yosef came and told him. Did the brothers also dream Yosef's dream before or after Yosef did? If after its no proof. If before, do you have a source? TY Welcome to Mi Yodeya Quiz :) Dec 10, 2018 at 15:52

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