The story of Yosef (Joseph) presents some of the most challenging questions of all biblical narratives. Yosef’s behavior, interpersonal relationships, and personal journey and development are often difficult to understand, and at times seem to defy explanation. Leading commentators are repeatedly puzzled both by Yosef’s actions and by the events that surround him. This book attempts to achieve a coherent and cohesive reading of the story that offers a plausible understanding of Yosef’s behaviors toward others and those of others toward him, while at the same time accounting for both his successes and his failures. Toward that goal, the book suggests that a close reading of the biblical text paints a portrait of Yosef consistent with an individual on the autism spectrum.
Although the primary goal of this project is focused on exploring a way to understand the character of Yosef and the events that surround him, with this understanding, the story may offer lessons for interactions with children and adults on the spectrum. If so, the fact that upon a close and careful reading the Torah contains such lessons, which are both current and timeless, is a further illustration of the principle: hafoch bah, v’hafoch bah, d’kula bah (“turn it and turn it, for everything is in it”).
Levine, Samuel J., "Was Yosef on the Spectrum? Understanding Joseph Through Torah, Midrash, and Classical Jewish Sources (Introduction)" (2019). Scholarly Works. 637.