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Vayigash in a Nutshell

Vayigash in a Nutshell

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 G‑d. It has all been ordained from Above to save us, and the entire region, from famine.”

The brothers rush back to Canaan with the news. Jacob comes to Egypt with his sons and their families—seventy souls in all—and is reunited with his beloved son after 22 years. On his way to Egypt he receives the divine promise: “Fear not to go down to Egypt; for I will there make of you a great nation. I will go down with you into Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again.”

Joseph gathers the wealth of Egypt by selling food and seed during the famine. Pharaoh gives Jacob’s family the fertile county of Goshen to settle, and the children of Israel prosper in their Egyptian exile.

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Kyra Meier Tallahassee, FL January 7, 2017

Disfunctional Families and How G-d Repair it I think the writing is in the Torah for the above reason. Fixing families feels overwhelming. How do you repair disrespect? And yet, the article shows progress. I chose to be Jewish; & Im also learning. So when I read the part about mourning I was distracted with-why clothes are torn. This is what I learned:"Our souls existed before we were born, and they continue to exist after we die." I wondered for a moment what it was talking about....But it means "a holy spirit", doesn't it? that G-d made us; and...holy is in our soul-all we have to do is want it to reign. Its the part that makes us cry, when environment isnt what we want it to be. When people let us down. In this way-"Were made in G-d's image"?? Then it said:"The souls that have passed on are still with us. We can’t see them, but we sense they are there." I liked that because:My parents taught me belief in G-d. I was told they passed away. What I find comforting is...the values are alive, as if they were...the same holy spirit Reply

Ezza Amitai Australia January 4, 2017

I remember the young daughter of my friend learning her Torah portions for the second year running and she came to the part where Joseph was taken to Egypt. She said,"Oh no! Does Joseph have to go to Egypt again?!" So funny. Reply Staff via December 20, 2015

To Brett The Nutshells were written by our editors. They do not exist in book form at this time. Reply

Brett Florida December 18, 2015

I am new to this site, I'm curious as to what edition& author these roundups & commentaries are taken from and get a copy either in print or electronically in one place. Reply

Anonymous Dallas, TX December 7, 2013

God Did It! Joseph tells his brothers that it was God, not they, who sent him to Egypt for the purpose of saving folks from famine. This raises several questions: How did Joseph know that this was God's plan? If it really was God's plan, couldn't He have found a simpler one? What becomes of the brothers' free will? Have they no responsibility then for their dastardly deed? Reply

Dwight D. Williams Garland, TX December 1, 2013

Judas harsh speech to Joseph Yrachmiel,
There is a wonderful article titled "Showdown" from the Zohar section of parshah Vayigash at Kabbalah Online; it plainly explains Judah's boldness. L'Chaim!

Baruch Shem, Baruch Hu Reply

Yrachmiel Fisher Kings Park, Y December 20, 2012

Judas harsh speech to Joseph Why did Judah speak so harshly. Why wash't he more afraid? Reply

Ephraim Jonah Jerusalem, Israel December 20, 2012

Why Yosef did not communicate with his father. From the text in this and the previous 3 parshiot there are several clues. First, at age 17 he had just been reprimanded by his father who then sent him off alone to one of the most dangerous places to check how his 10 hulking brothers are doing! No sooner than he arrives they strip him off his coat and throw him in a pit. He is then kidnapped by Midianites and sold off in Egypt. What was he thinking? That his father and brothers exiled him thinking he wanted to be leader of the tribe. His name for Menashe - he thanks G-d for helping him to forget ALL his father's House. He weeps uncontrollably when he sees his father, regretting the years he ignored him. He revealed himself when he learned from Yehuda for the first time that his father thought he was dead! His first words were "Is my father still alive?" He knew his father was alive- his brothers had told him so! He is saying my father who loved me is still alive! Reply

Carol Louisville, KY December 18, 2012

Contact Perhaps Joseph feared for his life if he were to return to see his father (if that were even possible as a slave or an advisor to a king). What then was his duty: to his father at the risk of his life, or to his master with the ability to spare the lives of many innocent Egyptians? Reply

Julie Durham, UK January 16, 2012

my mistake It has been pointed out to me that it is Egypt that got rich during the famine, ie. not Joseph's own wealth. My appologies.
So much to learn, so much to learn... Reply

Rabbi Zalman Nelson Tsfat, Israel January 15, 2012

To Uri, Mexico Nice point. You could take it further, because Yosef in Egypt provided sustenance back to his family in Israel, just like much money and resources from America have gone into supporting Israel.

However, before he dies Yosef has his brothers swear to bury him in Israel, since that is after all a Jew's rightful place. Reply

uri mexico, mexico December 30, 2011

The answer to why did Joseph made his father suffer all those years by not visiting him is a clear example of most Jews who do well in the exile and forget about Israel Reply

Anonymous ALBANY , NY December 28, 2011

contact In all those years Joseph let his father suffer at not knowing his fate. Didn't his conscience bother him? Reply

Julie Durham, UK December 28, 2011

getting rich on famine? I am shocked that Joseph gets rich by selling food during a famine. That seems inhuman to me. What is this all about? Reply

Isaac Leon Freed Austin, TX December 11, 2010

Distance/travel time I read for instance that Joseph's brothers made the trip from Egypt to their Father's home and back. How far was it and how long did it take them to make the trips? Reply

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