Weekly Torah Portion: Vayigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27)


In this Torah portion, Joseph’s brothers refuse to return to Canaan without Benjamin, whom Joseph has falsely accused of theft. Joseph reveals his true identity and invites his brothers to go back for their father Jacob and move with him and their families to Egypt. When they return, Joseph introduces his father to Pharaoh, and, at Pharaoh’s suggestion, the family settles in Goshen, a particularly fertile region of Egypt. Read an extensive summary on My Jewish Learning

Related D’var Torah

“The process of midrash is also a process of filling in the gaps of the story. Reading a text and then imagining what it might have looked like or felt like for each of the people involved.” – Rabbi Heather Miller in 2015. read the full drash

“Being ‘sensitive’ has, somewhere along the line, become seen as a bad thing. That ‘big girls don’t cry’ and ‘real men don’t cry.’ And that people should toughen up and suck it up and deal with it.” – Rabbi Heather Miller in 2013. Read the full drash

“The New Yorker cartoon I liked this week had an office worker saying to another: ‘Nope, no New Year’s resolutions for me this year — I’m still working on a backlog dating from ’87.’ Sigh. Me too, I fear.” – Rabbi Lisa Edwards in 2004. Read the full drash

“May the doors of this synagogue be open wide enough to receive all who hunger for love, all who long for friendship.” – Davi Cheng in 2002. Read the full drash.

Torah Verse of the Week*

Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone withdraw from me!” So there was no one else about when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. (Genesis 45:1; Parashat Vayigash)

Other Suggested Readings

“Even when Joseph is at the bottom of society, stuck in a jail for an indefinite amount of time, he finds a way to serve others. This is the first step in his ascension to a high position. When he is no longer trying to prove himself as he had with his father, when his conversations are no longer reports about what his brothers did wrong, or about his own dreams, when he has turned his attention to doing for others, is he on a path towards light. As a shammas, a light unto others, he then ascends. He brings light to the Pharoah through service and is rewarded for his acts.” – Read from Leah Zimmerman’s Experiencing Torah blog

‘Joseph’s Intermarriage’ by Rabbi Kerry L. Olitzky the Executive Director of the Jewish Outreach Institute. Read from the Telephone Torah Study archives

*Torah Verse of the Week is chosen by the Torah class during Tuesdays’ studies with Rabbi Lisa Edwards. Check out when our next Torah Study takes place

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