Vayigash

We left off in last weeks reading with Yosef instructing his son Menashe to put the ‘magical’ goblet in Benyamin’s sack, in turn framing Benyamin of thievery. When Yosef accused one of the brothers of stealing the goblet, they were all confused as they were sure none of them would have taken it (which none had an actually done).

Benyamin was taken and Yosef punished him into a lifetime of slavery, however, the future king of the Jewish people, Yehuda, stepped forward and eloquently but firmly petitioned against Yosef for Benyamin's release, offering himself as a slave instead (Bereishit 44:17/ Shabbat 105a).

As a result of this act of total selflessness, Yosef finally had pure proof that his brothers were different people from the ones who threw him into the pit, realizing they had fully repented for their past misdeeds.

He decided to reveal to them that he is none other than their brother, Yosef (Bereishit 45:4). Yehudah proved to everyone of his leadership qualities, his actions of leadership teach all of us how we are all capable of stepping up and attempting to lead in any situation. We learn in Parshat Shemot, when Moshe saw the sight of the ‘Burning Bush,’ Hashem instructed him to lead the Jewish people out of Egypt (Shemot 3:10), despite being the shyest of all men and having a speech problem, he still went on to arguably be the great leader of the Jewish people throughout history.

The brothers, who had just discovered who Yosef was, were in pure shame with the way they treated him; however Yosef consoled them, telling them that everything had been part of G-d’s plan.

From Yosef we learn how a person can come from absolute nothing and rise to power and fame, we see many cases in the Tanach where people came from ‘nothing’ to total rulership; in the book of ‘Shmuel,’ we learn how the young shepherd David, rose from doing a regular job, into being anointed as the future king, slaying the giant Goliath and then actually becoming King for forty years. We see in the book of Shoftim ‘Judges’ how Yiftach was bullied by his fellow townsmen, driven out of his town and then later on became the main judge of the Jewish people for six years (Shoftim 11:11).

Yosef then sent the brothers back to their father, Yaakov, with a message to come and reside in the land of Goshen (a segregated part of Egypt so that the ‘Hebrew’s would not assimilate into Egyptian culture) (Bereishit 45:18). At first, Yaakov could not accept the news, however Asher’s daughter, Serach, played in the most gentle manner with her musical instrument a song with the words ‘Yosef is still Alive!,’ Yaakov's spirit was then revived (Medrash Hagadol 45:26). In turn, Serach was blessed by Yaakov with eternal life. The Gemora says that she was one of nine people who went up to Gan Eden alive (Derech Eretz Zuta).

Yaakov together with all his family and possessions left for Goshen. Hashem communicated with Yaakov in a vision at night. He informed him not to fear going down to Egypt and its potential detrimental spiritual consequences, because it is there that G-d will in the future establish the Children of Israel as a huge nation despite they will dwell in a land steeped in immorality and corruption.

The Torah then lists Yaakov's offspring and hints to the birth of Yocheved, who would in the future be the mother of Moshe (Bereishit 46:8).

Seventy souls in total descended into Egypt, where Yosef was reunited with his father after 22 years of separation. He embraced his father and wept, overflowing with joy, whereas Yaakov was busy reciting the Shema.

Pharaoh presented Yaakov and his family lavish gifts. Then two leaders, Pharaoh, the international King and Yaakov the leader of the Hebrew’s finally met, as Yaakov blessed Pharaoh (Bamidbar Rabba 8:4), almost instantly after the blessing, the famine stopped, which shows the power of a blessing from a righteous individual!! The Talmud teaches us that the rain publicizes the merit of the righteous and their prayer (Ketubot 5a).

The Children of Israel then became settled in their new land, and their numbers multiplied greatly (Bereishit 47:29).

The Haftorah from this weeks reading comes from the book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 37:15-28). Ezekiel was a priest, prophet and preacher of the exile in Babylonia. When his people had all but lost hope in the continuity of the Jewish covenant, Ezekiel comforted his people with the promise of God's forgiveness and return to Zion.

The Dvar Torah is dedicated to the recovery of David Ben Sara, who is very sick and can't walk, please everyone pray for him to make a healthy recovery.