In this Shabbat’s weekly Torah portion Vayigash Genesis 44:18 – 47:27, Judah approaches Joseph to plead for the release of Benjamin, offering himself as a slave to the Egyptian ruler in Benjamin’s stead. Upon witnessing his brothers’ loyalty to one another, Joseph reveals his identity to them. “I am Joseph,” he declares. “Is my father still alive?”

The brothers are overcome by shame and remorse, but Joseph comforts them. “It was not you who sent me here,” he says to them, “but God. It has all been ordained from Above to save us, and the entire region, from famine.”

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In this week’s Haftara Prophets reading Ezekiel 37:15 – 37:28, mentions the fusion of the kingdoms of Judah and Joseph during the Messianic Era, echoing the beginning of this week’s Torah reading: “And Judah approached him [Joseph].”

The prophet Ezekiel shares a prophecy he received, in which God instructs him to take two sticks and to write one one, “For Judah and for the children of Israel his companions” and on the other, “For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel, his companions.” After doing so he was told to put the two near each other, and God fused them into one stick.

Happy studying!

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