Crossposted to The Reform Shuckle.
I've heard the midrash before that Yosef "made eyes at girls, he walked with a swagger, and he styled his hair." I've never given it much thought, though. On the surface, it seems to simply point out why it is that his brother's disliked him so much. He was one of those smarmy, popular guys, always around a group of girls. And the description of him certainly reminds me of many of the guys I see around campus in my daily life.
It seems, upon reflecting a bit, that I may be guilty of the same sins that Yosef's brothers are guilty of in this story. I'm certaintly not saying that I've ever sold anyone into slavery, but I've certainly negatively judged guys that make eyes, swagger, and style their hair. I do it every day in class, at lunch, and walking from place to place on campus.
In this midrash, the sin of Yosef's brothers is an inability to see past the swagger and the hair gel. Yosef has the potential, a potential he later realizes, to become a powerful, influential force of good within a major mediterranean power. His brothers can't see that yet.
In light of their inability to see the good in their brother for all of his swaggering around and use of hair products, I'd like to make a new year's resolution. I'm gonna try hard to see past the surface of some of the people I see around school every day.