Vayigash

VaYigash: Looking Ahead

December 14, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
Since the time of Joseph, infighting has been the Achilles heel of the Jewish people, causing untold pain, suffering and national calamity. So much of our collective energies are wasted on disagreements with others; many of them are so trivial when viewed from the perspective of history. The schisms of the 19th century, caused to a large extent by such topics as sermons in the vernacular or the placement of the bimah in a shul, are...
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VaYigash: Painful Reunion

December 22, 2017 By: rabbi jay kelman
Etiquette and diplomatic niceties are the hallmarks of the world of politics. Political leaders are trained to speak ambiguously and in a way that can allow for future re-interpretation (misinterpretation?) as the need arises. It is only in private, and even then quite rarely, that diplomats may express themselves with candour and frankness. Pharaoh's court—with its butlers, bakers and servants galore—was a place where political...
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VaYigash: An Egyptian Education

January 06, 2017 By: rabbi jay kelman
“And you shall surely know that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs for 400 years” (Breisheet 15:12). The Jewish people were destined to form their cultural identity in a foreign land. The Torah never specifically mentions that the foreign land would be Egypt. Yet it is not by chance that the land of our formation would be Egypt. While the Torah warns us not to follow in the ways of the Egyptians (...
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VaYigash: A Pilot Trip

December 18, 2015 By: rabbi jay kelman
  And he (Yaakov) sent Judah ahead of him to make preparations (l'horot ) in Goshen (46:28). With great fear and trepidation, Jacob, along with 68 of his descendants, began the long trip down to Egypt. Despite his tremendous joy at knowing Yosef was alive and (doing very) well, Yaakov, not without reason, feared for the spiritual future of his descendants. Only after G-d assured him that "I will make you into a...
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Vayigash: Family Feud

December 26, 2014 By: rabbi jay kelman
"Your servant, our father, said to us: You know that my wife bore to me two sons" (44:27).  It is assumed by many that Yehuda made this quote up to help gain the mercy of the Egyptian Viceroy who held the power of life and death over the younger of the two sons. His brother, Yehuda noted, had already died; and "now you want to take this one from me too?" (44:29). This will kill our father, causing him to go...
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