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    Sitting or slouching? – Vayyeshev

    How did people conduct themselves at the meal table in ancient times?

    Amongst other passages, Gen. 37:25 simply says they sat to eat bread. Does this mean that they sat up straight, as my generation were taught to do as children when we were rebuked if we slouched in our chairs?

    Targum Onkelos says they reclined, which reminds us of the four Mah Nishtanah questions in the Haggadah.

    This was the Roman custom amongst the nobility of the time of the Targum, but this is not the point which the Torah is making in this verse but suggesting that Joseph’s brothers were relaxed and had no remorse about their unbrotherly treatment of Joseph.

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