For starters, the image that will dominate the décor of the table will be the special coat that Yaakov gave to his son Yosef. We have a beautiful, bright striped tablecloth that will make a striking setting for the table. Yosef's striped colorful coat will be represented in a layered salad, a striped roasted vegetable terrine, and striped jello dessert (see http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Rainbow-Jello; beware only kosher real gelatin such as Elyon works well).The kids (and grown-ups) will also be wearing the most colorful striped clothing they have. During dinner, we will definitely talk about the coat and consider why Yaakov gave it to Yosef, even though Yosef’s brothers might (and had) become very jealous. For a more popular culture twist, I am working in fitting some of the zemirot we sing to tunes from “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” a score our family knows quite well.
Dreams will play the greatest role in our menu. Each place setting will be set with a goblet of grape juice and an individual roll. The grape juice goblets will have a plastic fly in each and the rolls will have a raisin—I don’t think a rock will do—stuck inside each one. These items, reminiscent of the sar hamashkim (sommelier) and sar haofim’s (baker) dreams, will hopefully set the stage for a discussion of Yosef as one who understands God’s messages sent through dreams. I would like our kids to think about how Yosef inherited his understanding of how to analyze dreams from the experiences of his father. While Yosef’s brothers might have thought initially that his dreams were delusions of grandeur, they and Yaakov Avinu come to realize that the dreams are actually expressions of nevuah (prophecy), as evident in the fact that the motifs of the dreams are repeated/doubled.
To further the dream representation on the table, I am going to create sheaves of wheat out of carrots stick bunches tied with scallion. For Yosef’s bundle, I will use string beans tied similarly, but that bundle will be grander and larger, and positioned differently on the serving dish. For Yosef’s second dream that he reports to his siblings, I will once again pull out my star shaped baking pan for eleven star shaped muffins to accompany a squash sunshine and mashed potato moon (see Parashat Bereishit).
We will also highlight the darker parts of the parashah—Yosef’s time in the pit and his brother’s elaborate scheme to make Yaakov think that Yosef had met his demise at the mouth of a wild beast. To remind us of the pit, we will make a dish that is a pun on the Hebrew text describing the pit. (My fourth grader and I thought of this several weeks ago when she had to read the verse and the accompanying Rashi over and over for homework one night.) The Torah says that the pit was empty; it contained no water, “Ve’ha’bor rek, ain bo mayim.”) If you say “bor rek” (the pit was empty) many times in a row, it begins to sound like borek or borekas, so we have to have those at Shabbat dinner (and there will be no mayim in our borekas!) For the main course, I will serve several bowls of dipping sauces and have strips of food (meat, chicken, vegetables, etc.) that can be drenched in the red sauces.
And that will be this year’s rendering of Parashat Vayeshev!
Tammie Zaks Rapps creates menu plans that reflect each week's Torah reading. Tammie feels that "Themed Shabbat meals allow us to focus on the Parashat HaShavua in an engaging and dynamic way." Check out Tammie's blog a parashahmom.blogspot.com and follow her here on ChallahCrumbs!