Faith by Numbers

Faith by Numbers

Dec 10, 2021 By Joel Seltzer | Commentary | Vayiggash

Most often, when I describe my own faith in God, I liken it to a number line from middle school math class. On the left are the negative numbers, in the center is the lonely zero, and to its right are all the positive numbers, stretching toward infinity.

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A Song of Hope

A Song of Hope

Dec 25, 2020 By Burton L. Visotzky | Commentary | Vayiggash

In a curious foreshadowing of the book of Exodus, in this week’s Torah reading (Gen. 46:8) we read, “Ve’eleh shemot—These are the names of the children of Israel who came into Egypt . . .” This is verbatim the same report as the opening verse of the book of Exodus. But there, the names are limited only to Jacob’s actual sons, and the full enumeration of their own offspring is absent.

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Why Everyone Should Cry in Public

Why Everyone Should Cry in Public

Jan 3, 2020 By Sarah Wolf | Commentary | Vayiggash

Vayiggash brings us to the culmination of the drama between Joseph and his brothers that began in Parashat Miketz. Ten of Joseph’s brothers—all but Benjamin—had travelled to Egypt to buy food during a famine. Joseph, newly in command in Egypt, had disguised himself and, perhaps in retaliation for the way they had treated him earlier, forced his brothers to go through various ordeals and humiliating situations. One of Joseph’s demands was that his brothers bring their youngest brother Benjamin when they returned to Egypt, with which they now comply, despite their father Jacob’s resistance to putting his youngest and beloved son in danger. 

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Dying Whole and Living Whole

Dying Whole and Living Whole

Dec 14, 2018 By Shayna Golkow | Commentary | Vayiggash

In a moment of joy, how many times have you said, “I’m so happy that I could die now,” or “If I died right now, I’d be satisfied!” In a way, this reaction is counterintuitive; if we are so happy, why would we wish to die? But this reaction also comes naturally, because of our awareness that dying during a time of harmony and wholeness in our lives is the ideal.

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Hearing Our Own Stories

Hearing Our Own Stories

Dec 22, 2017 By Zohar Atkins | Commentary | Vayiggash

Although we know how it ends, this week’s Torah reading can be, by turns, anxiety-provoking, cathartic, and unsettling. We know a reconciliation between the brothers will take place, but we don’t fully understand how. We know a peace deal will be reached, but we suspect that, like all new agreements, its character will be tenuous, fragile, and ad hoc, its consensus constructed atop a minefield of lingering resentments and fundamentally conflicting narratives.

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Sibling Loyalty

Sibling Loyalty

Dec 30, 2016 By Allison Kestenbaum | Commentary | Vayiggash

Am I my brother’s keeper?

Yes I am!
Yes I am!

When he’s pushed to the edge when he’s out on a ledge
Can I help him to think with his heart
When he’s wrong when he’s right I’ll be there to remind him
That he’s made in the image of God

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In Pharaoh’s Court

In Pharaoh’s Court

Jan 6, 2017 By Arnold M. Eisen | Commentary | Vayiggash

Our attention as readers of Vayiggash is naturally riveted by the dramatic events in the first half of the portion: Joseph’s self-revelation to his brothers; the family of Jacob coming to dwell in Egypt; and Jacob’s declaration that he “must go and see [Joseph] before I die” (Gen. 45:28). What happens later in Vayiggash, however, is to my mind of far greater significance for the future of the children of Israel and the people of Egypt alike. The second half of the portion bears truths about Jewish history and destiny as relevant now as ever before.

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The Distraction of Bickering

The Distraction of Bickering

Dec 11, 2010 By Abigail Treu | Commentary | Text Study | Vayiggash

In an age in which bickering about halakhah—its particulars and its generalities—has become the Achilles’ heel of the Jewish community, Rabbi Elazar’s words resound.

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