• Vayigash ~ 5774 ~ ויגש

    Click HERE to access our Parashah Summary Archive with week-by-week summaries and study questions

    Vayigash ~ 5774 ~ ויגש

    Yehuda approaches Joseph to plead his case to allow Benjamin to return to Jacob. He repeats the sequence of events leading to their Patriarch’s allowing Benjamin to descend to Egypt. Yehuda explains that another trauma involving one of the young sons might kill their elderly father. Yehuda, playing on the sympathies of the Ruler Joseph, offers to remain as a slave in exchange for Benjamin’s release. This is too great a strain on Joseph and he orders the room cleared of strangers and then reveals himself as their brother Joseph. Joseph allays their fears of retribution by declaring their act of selling him into slavery as a part of G-d’s plan to save them all from starvation.

    Joseph promises to sustain all the families of his Brethren in the province of Goshen, a pasture-rich land. Pharaoh is so pleased with this family reunion that he further encourages the immigration of Jacob’s family to Egypt. Pharaoh commands the brethren to take wagons with them to bring their families back to Egypt. All the brothers receive gifts but Benjamin’s is greatest. Joseph sends twenty donkeys laden with special gifts for Jacob.

    When Jacob hears the news of Joseph’s ascension to eminence and his new life in Egypt, he is still incredulous until he sees the wagons. En route to Egypt, Jacob journeys through Be’er Sheva, where after sacrificing to G-d, he has a vision in which G-d assures him this descent to Egypt is according to His wishes. The 70 descendants of Jacob are enumerated here before the Exodus actually begins.

    Judah leads the way to Goshen. Joseph prepares his family with prearranged stories for Pharaoh. Five representatives from the brethren are presented to Pharaoh. He only grants them Goshen but asks for assistance with his own herds. Jacob is brought in and blessed by Pharaoh. Although Jacob is 130 years old, he feels his life was unhappy and unfulfilled. Joseph completely sustains his brethren while the Egyptians slowly barter away their livestock and land for food.

    MAFTIR: Genesis 47:25 – 27 ~ page 177

    HAFTARAH: Ezekiel 37:15 – 28 ~ pages 178

    Addressing the Babylonian exiles, Ezekiel predicts the restoration of Israel to its homeland as a united people. This is symbolized by his joining together two sticks, one bearing the words “for Judah and for the Children of Israel his companions” and the other “for Joseph the stick of Ephraim and of all the house of Israel his companions.” The united nation will have one king and will be blessed with peace as G-d’s Divine Presence will dwell among them.

     

    Parashah Study Questions

    1. Once again the Torah hints to the importance of adoption, how so (44:20)?

    2. Midrash explains that only when Joseph spoke Hebrew to the brothers (45:12) did they believe him.  But why didn’t they suspect anything when the “interpreter” spoke Hebrew (42:23)?

    3. Why do you think the positive resolution of sibling conflict was a good thing ‘to Pharaoh and his servants’ (45:16)?

    4. How does v. 46:4 compare to the first time that Jacob left the land of Israel (28:11-12)?

    5. Does v. 47:20 bother you? According to U.S. law, who owns all the land currently not under private ownership (i.e. parks, forests, lakes)?