Parashat Vayigash

Joseph reveals himself to his brothers, prompting the entire family to move to Egypt, where Joseph reunites with his father, Jacob.

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The following article is reprinted with permission from Jewish Family & Life!

Because a silver goblet has been found in his younger brother Benjamin’s bag, Joseph demands that Benjamin remain a slave in Egypt while the brothers return to their father. Parashat Vayigash begins with Judah’s plea to Joseph.

 "Oh my lord, have you a father or another brother? My father had two children by his adored wife Rachel. But his firstborn son was torn to pieces, and he warned us that if an accident befalls Benjamin, "you will bring me to my grave in misery."

"And now," Judah said, "if I come home and the youngest lad is not with us, and the soul of the one is bound up with the soul of the other, then it shall come to pass that he shall die in sorrow. Please take me as your slave instead of Benjamin."

Revealing His Identity

Joseph could no longer control himself. He released all his servants so that he could be alone with his brothers. "I am Joseph," he said crying so loudly the whole palace could hear. "Is my father still well?"

But the brothers could not answer him because they were dumbfounded in Joseph’s presence.

"Now," Joseph said, "do not be troubled about selling me into this place, for God sent me here in order to preserve life. So it was not you who sent me here. It was God. Hurry, go to my father and tell him the news and bring him here. I will provide for all of you."  Joseph then fell on Benjamin and wept. He kissed his brothers and wept in their embrace. His brothers, too, wept with him.

Pharaoh was pleased to hear the news of Joseph’s brothers. He urged Joseph to bring his father and all the brothers’ families to Egypt. He offered them the best wagons to help them move and the choicest of lands when they arrived.

The brothers reached their father’s home. They told him that Joseph was still alive and that he had royal status. Jacob’s heart stood still because he did not believe them. But when they told him what Joseph had said and when he saw the wagons, the spirit of Jacob revived and he said, "It is too much. Joseph, my son is still alive. I will go there. I want to see him before I die."

Then Jacob went to Beer Sheba and made an offering to the God of his father Isaac. And God spoke to Jacob in visions in the night, saying, "Jacob! Jacob!"

"I am here," Jacob said.

"I am the God, the God of your father. Do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. I will go with you and bring you back up again and Joseph will place his hand upon your eyes."

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Nancy Reuben Greenfield

Nancy Reuben Greenfield has written three adaptations of the Torah, including an
interactive family version at, and an engaging
Jewish immigrant novel, The Golden Medina, available on itunes and Amazon.