This is the lineage of Jacob – Joseph, seventeen years old, was tending the flock with his brothers, assisting the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, the wives of his father. Bilhah and Zilpah were the maidservants of Rachel and Leah who married Jacob and gave birth to some of the twelve tribes. Joseph was the treasured elder son of Rachel, his father Jacob’s true love, but he did not think it beneath himself to be the assistant to his “lesser” brothers. This verse opens our parasha, says Rabbi Jacob Mecklenburg, to show us that Joseph’s dreams of greatness were out of character for even as a youth he was a humble and self-effacing person.