Vayigash

Posted on December 17th, 2017

Genesis 44:18 - 47:27


BY RABBI CHARLES SAVENOR for myjewishlearning.com 


Joseph’s Moment of Truth


Revealing his true identity, the viceroy cannot control his emotions.


The moment of truth has arrived. With Benjamin framed for stealing and sentenced to enslavement, Joseph waits to see how Jacob‘s other sons will respond. Joseph believes that his well-orchestrated ruse will finally expose his brothers’ true colors.

Judah’s Appeal

This week’s parsha opens with Judah appealing to his brother Joseph, the Egyptian viceroy, to free Benjamin and to enslave Judah in his place. Judah’s eloquent petition recounts his brothers’ interaction with this Egyptian official as well as the familial circumstances of Jacob’s household. Benjamin, the youngest son in the family, occupies a valued place in their father’s eyes, Judah says, because he is the last living remnant of Jacob’s deceased wife, Rachel. In conclusion, Judah asserts that if he were to return home to Canaan without Benjamin, he could not bear to see his father’s immediate and long-term pain and suffering.

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Mikeitz - Shabbat Hanukkah

Posted on December 10th, 2017

Genesis 41:1−44:17

By Rabbi Bradley Artson, provided by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, for MyJewishLearning.com

Two Kinds Of Intelligence

 

To be fully educated and human we must study a range of disciplines--humanities and sciences, secular and Judaic.

 

 

Pharaoh has endured a night of terrible dreams. To make matters worse, neither he nor any of his ministers understood what the dreams were about. The only person able to interpret those dreams is a Hebrew prisoner in an Egyptian jail. That person is Joseph.
Seven Years & Seven Years

After hearing the dreams described, Joseph announced that Egypt would enjoy seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of universal famine. In advance, Joseph argues that Pharaoh should appoint someone "navon ve-hakham," discerning and sage, who will store enough food to ensure the survival of the population.

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Vayeshev

Posted on December 3rd, 2017

Genesis 37:1−40:23



From Pride Comes Loneliness


Joseph's experience in prison teaches him, and us, that we succeed and flourish when we support those around us.


By Rabbi Bradley Artson, provided by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, for MyJewishLearning.com

In the development of Joseph’s character and the events of his life, the Torah portrays a bittersweet lesson about the loneliness of pride. On the surface, there is no reason for Joseph to be lonely. He is, after all, the favorite child of his father, surrounded by 11 brothers, in the midst of a bustling and energetic family.

Joseph has the potential to fill his life with friendship, family and love. Yet his need to be preeminent, his need to belittle the gifts and experiences of this family in order to glorify his own talents, isolate him from his own kin. We get a clue about the extent of Joseph’s pride from the very start.

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Vayishlach

Posted on November 27th, 2017

Genesis 32:4 - 36:43 


Rabbi Justin Goldstein for myjewishlearning.com 


A Tale of Two Jacobs

 

This biblical patriarch’s life is marked by an unresolved conflict with his dark side.


One reason the figures in Torah are so compelling is that they are not paragons of perfection; quite to the contrary they are complex individuals who struggle with the human condition. And no figure in Torah embodies this dichotomy more than Jacob. He is, truly, a broken man, his struggle for self-discovery marred by what might be described as a split personality. Perhaps one indication of this split is the fact that he receives a second name, Israel — Hebrew for “God Struggler.”

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Vayeitzei

Posted on November 19th, 2017

Genesis 28:10−32:3

By Rabbi Bradley Artson, provided by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, for MyJewishLearning.com

Children And Deferred Dreams

 

Reflected in the names of her children, Leah grows to recognize her own worth, independent of Jacob's feelings for her.

 

We all dream about our lives, our families and our destiny. Born into a world we did not create, motivated by hope, energy and drive, we spend our childhood and adolescence absorbing wonderful stories of adventure, heroes and fantasies.

And we dream. We dream of achieving the highest ideals of our fantasy life…of being president, landing on the moon or becoming a star. We imagine ourselves as wealthy, or famous or wise. Venerating a galaxy of admired adults, we imagine ourselves as one of them, as one of the best of them.

In the fantasies of children, life has no end; possibilities, no limit. And we are not alone in spinning those dreams. Children may aggrandize themselves, but they do so with the active consent and encouragement of their parents, grandparents, teachers and a supporting cast of thousands.
 
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