Author: Gidon Ariel

Published Date: December 27, 2019

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In this Shabbat’s weekly Torah portion Vayigash Genesis 44:18-47:27, sees Joseph revealing his true identity to his brothers, inviting his father and the rest of their family to join him in Egypt. Jacob brings his family to Joseph, and Joseph cares for them for the remainder of his life. The portion also includes details of Joseph’s work as viceroy which were not included in last week’s portion.

Topic 1: Judah’s Plea and Joseph’s Revelation
Last week’s portion ended with a cliff-hanger, as Joseph called for Benjamin’s servitude. This week’s portion opens with Judah stepping forward in defense of the brother whose safety he personally assured his father. Judah reviews the events to date for Joseph: you asked after our family, we told you we have a father and… Read More »

Topic 2: Jacob Descends to Egypt
Jacob sets out for Egypt, stopping in Beersheba on the way. There, God addresses him, reassuring him not to fear the descent to Egypt, for there He will make them a great nation. The Israel Bible remarks on the use of the word ‘descent’, which serves as a reminder that the Land of Israel is… Read More »

Topic 3: Joseph and the Famine
The Torah details Joseph’s administrative work. As people come from across Egypt and Canaan to buy bread, Joseph amasses great wealth for Pharaoh. When the people run out of money for food, he accepts livestock as payment. When even that is diminished, he takes their land in payment, allowing them to continue living as serfs… Read More »

Topic 4: Haftarah – The Passage from Ezekiel Quoted in a Nobel Prize Banquet Speech
The first Israeli to win a Nobel Prize offered a sweeping account of the wanderings of the Jewish people throughout exile in his banquet speech. Dressed in tails and a black tie with a giant black kippah on his head in 1966 in Stockholm, writer Shai Agnon began his remarks, “As a result of the… Read More »

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