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Va’yigash  Gen 44:18 – 47:27

This Torah portion is Va’yigash (Hebrew for “And he approached”).  This refers to Judah approaching the viceroy of Egypt, unaware that the viceroy is his long-lost brother Joseph.  This is the third of four Torah portions that comprise the Joseph narrative.

Synopsis: at the end of the prior Torah portion, Mikketz, Benjamin, who was framed (he is accused of stealing a silver goblet), is to be held as a slave, with the older brothers told to return to Canaan. This week’s portion begins with  Judah’s stepping forward to plead with the viceroy to release Benjamin or their father will die.  Judah tells the viceroy to take him as a hostage instead.  Joseph can no longer contain himself – he sends all the Egyptian courtiers out of the room and he discloses that he is Joseph and his first question is: does his father still live.  He also tells the brothers that they should not be angry for selling him.  It was Elohim’s plan to send him to preserve life (by creating the grain storage in Egypt).  He sends his brothers to bring Jacob down to Egypt where they will all live in good farmland in Goshen.   Jacob is in disbelief when he learns that Joseph is alive.  He comes to Egypt, where he and his sons have an audience with Pharaoh who tells Joseph to give his family quality land in which to live.  During the years of famine, Joseph provides grain for the population, but at a price: their money, their livestock, their homes, and their freedom (the priests were spared this).  The people were made vassals to the Pharaoh and they had a 20% flat tax of all the produce they grew.