Parashat Mikketz: Genesis 41:1 to 44:17

Week of December 15, 2023

Our title for the Torah portion literally means “at the end of two years of days,” and refers to the Pharaoh standing near the Nile and dreaming his famous dreams. The dreams center on agricultural themes, that of abundance and famine. None in the Egyptian court can interpret the dreams, so young Joseph is brought forth to explain the dreams to the leader. As we know, the motif is that there will be seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine. Joseph is placed at the head of government, and the Pharaoh accords him many honors.

When the famine strikes, Papa Jacob sends his sons to Egypt, except that he keeps his son Benjamin at home. When the brothers arrive in Egypt, Joseph recognizes them and accuses them of spying on the land. They answer him and state that they have an elderly father and one other brother who is at home in Canaan. Joseph seizes Simeon and tells them that Simeon will not be freed until they return with their youngest brother Benjamin. Joseph takes their money, gives them sacks of food, and sends them away. Thus begins the ruse of Joseph, as he wishes to see his younger brother and punish all the others for what they did to him, when he was tossed into the “pit.” Ultimately Judah promises his father that Benjamin will be safe, and he takes Benjamin with him to Egypt, in order to meet the great Joseph. If you want to know the denouement of this story, please join us for Torah study.
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