Vayigash 5779-2018

“The Innocent Victim”

When Joseph asked, "Is my father still alive?" he was asking his brothers how could they have been so unconcerned for the feelings of their poor father Jacob, who for 22 years, was inconsolable over the loss of Joseph.

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Mikeitz 5779-2018

"Why Did You Treat Me So Badly"

There was but a single instance in Jacob’s life where he complained to G-d about being treated badly. Jacob’s faithful attitude teaches the importance of having faith in G-d at all times, and that even in times of darkness, we must look forward to the dawning of a beautiful sun-filled tomorrow.

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Vayeishev 5778-2017

“The Jealousy Between Brothers”

Why did Jacob favor Joseph, after all, Benjamin was his youngest son? Why was it necessary for Jacob to send Benjamin to Egypt, after all, the prophecy of going down to Egypt had been mostly fulfilled?

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Vayishlach 5778-2017

“The Tragic Death of Mother Rachel”

While the Torah does not provide a single reason for the Matriarch Rachel passing away at the young age of 36, the commentators suggest a host of answers for her tragic premature demise.

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Vayigash 5777-2017

“No ‘Man’ was with Joseph”

Why does Scripture emphasize twice that no man (“Ish”)stood with Joseph when he revealed himself to his brothers?

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Vayigash 5776-2015

“Joseph’s Intense Economic Policies”

Joseph, now the viceroy of Egypt, proves himself to be an astute administrator, nationalizing untold wealth to benefit Pharaoh’s monarchy. Could it be that Joseph’s harsh actions led to the eventual enslavement of the Jews in later years, and provided much fodder (although unjustified) to many future generations of anti-Semites?

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Vayigash 5775-2014

"Joseph Calms His Brothers"

With his terrified brothers standing before him expecting the worst, Joseph not only reveals himself but gently and generously calms them, attempting to relieve them of feelings of guilt and vengefulness.

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Mikeitz 5775-2014

“Why Did Joseph, the Viceroy of Egypt, Never Contact His Aged Father?”

Joseph had already served for nine years as the second most powerful person in Egypt when his brothers come to Egypt to buy food. Why hadn’t the all-powerful Joseph previously contacted his family in Canaan, or at least informed them of the impending famine?

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Vayigash 5772-2011

"Joseph and Judah: A Confrontation for Posterity"

The confrontation between Judah and Joseph was not only intended to achieve the release of Benjamin, but was a struggle for the leadership of Israel between two larger-than-life brothers.

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Mikeitz 5772-2011

"Joseph Takes His Brother Simeon Hostage"

Joseph’s decision to take Simeon hostage was not at all coincidental. Why was Simeon singled out from among all Joseph’s brethren? When analyzing this episode in depth, the commentators reveal that many subliminal issues were in play.

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Vayigash 5768-2007

"And Jacob Sent Judah Ahead"

Jacob sends Judah ahead to Egypt to prepare for the family's arrival in Goshen. Why does Jacob specifically choose Judah, and what exactly is the purpose of Judah's mission?

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Vayigash 5766-2006

"And Judah Approached"

In parashat Vayigash, scripture tells us that Judah approached "him," probably meaning Joseph. Our commentators struggle to understand the meaning of the word "Va'yee'gash." Whatever the meaning of the word, the context of the biblical story calls on every person to assume the mantle of courage and leadership, and to step in where necessary to show a sense of responsibility toward all Jews.

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Vayigash 5763-2002

"Joseph Reveals Himself to His Brothers: The Triumph of Jewish Identity"

Although Joseph remains thoroughly committed to G-d and to monotheism, he seems to be rather ambivalent about his own "Jewish identity." As soon as Joseph is summoned to Pharaoh, he shaves and changes his clothes. After he successfully interprets Pharaoh's dreams, he is dressed in garments of fine linen and has a gold chain placed around his neck. Pharaoh then gives him an Egyptian name, Tzofnat Panayach, and Osnat, the daughter of Potiphera, the High Priest of On, as a wife. Joseph even gives his children names that are critical of his previous life in Canaan and extol life in Egypt. In the end, however, Joseph re-embraces his identity--a true triumph of Joseph's inner spirit.

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Vayigash 5761-2001

"Joseph Helps His Brothers Repent"

Why did Joseph have to be so cruel to his brothers? Joseph apparently felt that it was necessary to put his brothers through an agonizing test in order to see whether his brothers were truly Ba'alei T'shuva--true penitents. Joseph brilliantly recreates the circumstances where Benjamin is now in the exact position that Joseph was in when he was thrown in to the pit by his brothers and sold to the Ishmaelites. Will the brothers this time stand up for Benjamin, or will they send him down the river as they did with Joseph?

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