2 This, then, is the line of Yaakov: At seventeen years of age, Yosef tended the flocks with his brothers, as a helper to the sons of his father’s wives Bilha and Zilpa. And Yosef brought bad reports of them to their father.
AY-leh tol-DOT ya-a-KOV yo-SAYF ben sh’-va es-RAY sha-NAH ha-YAH ro-EH et e-KHAV ba-TZON v’-HU NA-ar et b’-NAY bil-HAH v’-et b’-NAY zil-PAH n’-SHAY a-VEEV va-ya-VAY yo-SAYF et di-ba-TAM ra-AH el a-vee-HEM
37:2 Yosef tended the flocks with his brothers
It is no coincidence that so many biblical heroes are shepherds. The Sages point out that this simple profession is excellent spiritually, for two reasons. On one hand, the abundance of time for quiet reflection and meditation allows the shepherd to develop an intimate relationship with Hashem. On the other hand, a shepherd who excels in his work acquires a deep sensitivity to the needs of each and every sheep in his flock. What Yosef learns as a young shepherd enables him to become a paradigm of leadership for all future generations in the service of God and the service of man.