The parashah opens with arguably the most dramatic scene in the entire Torah, if not in the entire Tanach. Yosef has framed Binyamin and has announced that he will take Binyamin as his slave. As the parashah opens, Yehudah pulls Yosef aside and makes a dramatic plea: "Take me, not him. I cannot return home to see my father die because he has lost his one remaining son of Rachel, his beloved wife." Yosef now knows that his brothers have changed. The time has come to end the charade and reveal himself. After sending all the Egyptians from the room, he announces, "I am Yosef. Does my father truly still live?" The brothers are stunned into silence, but they also fear that Yosef will now take his revenge on them. Instead, he reassures them. "I am Yosef your brother, whom you sold into slavery. Do not be distressed or reproach yourselves because you sold me hither. It was to save life that God sent me before you." He then sends the brothers back to Canaan with many gifts. Soon, Israel goes down into Egypt, on the next leg of its journey to meet its destiny as God's kingdom of priests and holy nation. To download this week's Shabbat Booklet, please click here.

Shabbat Parashah Vayigash



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Shabbat Shalom

This Week: Shabbat Parashat Vayigash

B’reishit 44.18-47.27, pages 279-289

SECOND ALIYAH: Assume that Yehudah has finally recognized Yosef and realized that Yosef had the goblet planted in Binyamin’s sack. What would be the import of saying “take me as your slave instead of him”?

FIFTH ALIYAH: God tells Yaakov not to fear going down into Egypt, yet we have seen no sign that Yaakov has any fear at all—in fact, he seems all too eager to go—so what is it God is talking about?

The haftarah, Y’chezkel 37.15-28, begins on page 291.

Next Week: Shabbat Chazak Parashat Vay'chi

B’reishit 47.28-50.26, pages 293-310

FIRST ALIYAH: Why was it important to tell us that Yaakov “lived 17 years in the land of Egypt,” considering that we know his age on arriving (130) and his age at his death (147)?

FOURTH ALIYAH: Yaakov, in blessing his fourth son, says “the scepter shall never depart from Yehudah.” What exactly is Yaakov saying—and what, perhaps deliberately, is he not saying?

The haftarah, M’lachim Alef 2.1-12, begins on page 313.