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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Free Will?

Free Will?

Dec 22, 2001 By Lewis Warshauer | Commentary | Vayiggash

It is commonly accepted that Judaism teaches free choice. Human beings can choose their behaviors and are responsible for those choices. The source for this teaching is traced directly to the Torah:

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Israel Divided

Israel Divided

Dec 10, 1994 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Vayiggash

As you know, the Haftarah is the prophetic selection with which we take leave from the weekly parasha. The word is a noun which means, “to bring (the Torah reading) to a close.” We do not depart from the Torah abruptly, but gradually with a final reading from the Prophets, chanted from a printed book rather than a handwritten scroll. We withdraw from the realm of the sacred slowly. The prophetic passage chosen always relates to the content of the parasha for that week.

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Making Room for God

Making Room for God

Dec 21, 1997 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Vayiggash

Jacob and Joseph, father and son, had been separated for 22 years. At first the exclamation of his sons that Joseph was not only alive but ruled over all of Egypt was met with stony silence. Jacob did not dare let their words shatter the emotional equilibrium he had forged out of his suffering. It was only upon seeing the vehicles of Egyptian design sent by Joseph that Jacob softened his resistance. His spirit sprang back to life and he insisted on leaving for Egypt immediately to behold once again his long lost son.

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