Author: Gidon Ariel

Published Date: December 23, 2019

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In this Shabbat’s weekly Torah portion Mikeitz Genesis 41:1-44:17, continues the story of Joseph in Egypt. Joseph successfully interprets Pharaoh’s dream and is made viceroy over all of Egypt. He successfully steers the country through both abundance and famine, so that it becomes the destination for hungry families from nearby countries seeking food for purchase. Among the buyers are Joseph’s own brothers, who fail to recognize him when they face him. He accuses them of spying, taking Simeon hostage in exchange for proof of their defense: their youngest brother, Benjamin. At first reluctant to send him, Jacob eventually relents, but things take a turn for the worse when Joseph plants a silver cup in his pack and accuses him of stealing it.

Topic 1: Pharaoh’s Dream
Pharaoh awakens one night from a terrifying dream, but none of the interpretations of his advisors satisfies him. His butler recalls a Hebrew youth from prison who successfully interpreted his own dream two years earlier, and Joseph is cleaned up and brought before Pharaoh. Pharaoh tells of seven fat cows devoured by seven skinny cows,… Read More »

Topic 2: The Brothers’ First Visit to Egypt
The famine in Egypt hits Canaan, as well. When Jacob hears there is food to be purchased in Egypt, he sends his sons, with the exception of Benjamin, to buy some. Upon their arrival, Joseph recognizes them, but they fail to identify him. He demands to know where they come from, and they respond that… Read More »

Topic 3: The Brothers Return to Egypt
Time passes, and again Jacob’s family needs food. Judah reminds his father that they cannot return to Egypt without Benjamin, and persuades him to send his youngest son by promising to take personal responsibility for his safety. Jacob agrees, instructing the brothers to take the viceroy a gift of the best the Land of Israel… Read More »

Topic 4: Benjamin Accused
Joseph secretly commands his servant to fill the brothers’ sacks with food, return their money, and plant his silver goblet in Benjamin’s sack. When the brothers leave, Joseph’s servant chases after them, accusing them of throwing Joseph’s kindness in his face: after everything he had done for them, how could they steal his silver goblet… Read More »

Topic 5: Haftarah – Chanukah – The Illuminating Message Behind the Emblem of Israel
In 1949, the Provisional Council selected an official emblem for the fledgling Jewish state to display its sovereignty in the community of nations. Graphic artists Gavriel and Maxim Shamir came up with the famous design of a menorah flanked by two olive branches, prevailing over 450 other submissions. According to Gavriel Shamir, “After we decided… Read More »

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