Torah: Vayigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27) Haftarah:(Ezekiel 37:15-28)
An overview of the Torah parsha…
There was a confrontation between Judah and Joseph, whose identity is still unknown to his brothers.(Joseph is Vizier to Pharaoh in Egypt) Judah pleads with Joseph to take him as a slave in place of Benjamin. Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers. Jacob arrives in Egypt for an emotional reunion with Joseph.( there were 17 years of lost time between Jacob and Joseph. Jacob thought Joseph was killed by a wild animal; Joseph and the coat of colors). * Jacob lives another 17 years, G-d gives him the years he lost with his son, Joseph. Joseph loses 10 years of life, because he never corrected his brothers for calling their “father a servant to you/Joseph”. Jacob and his family increases in numbers and wealth in the area of Goshen.
While there are many concepts and values, speaking out for justice, reconciliation and more. I will drash on reconciliation. The scene in which Joseph reveals himself to his brothers is a memorable one. Overcome with tears, he tells his brothers, “I am Joseph,” and asks, “Is my father still alive?” His brothers were seated in order of the ages. His brothers, quite astonished, are totally speechless. Reconciliation is an important value in Judaism. Rabbi Samuel Nachmani claims that Joseph acted with sensitivity and wisdom. He did not fear his brothers (he removed all his guards, except his 2 sons from the room). After hearing them speaking to one another, he knew that they felt very guilty for selling him into slavery. Seeing how much they regretted what they had done to him, and how they now fear for their welfare of both Benjamin and their father, he was right to trust them (Midrash Genesis Rabbah 93:9).
Joseph’s life no matter how he felt at being sold into slavery can never be erased, however time eased the bitterness. G-d chose Joseph to be the one to save the Jewish people from a famine in the future. If you can recall, he was a dreamer. He can read dreams, which was a Divine gift. Yet, Joseph tested his brothers throughout the Torah portion to see if they changed. Some people change and then there are others that never will…that’s their sad lost.
Holidays, especially at Hanukkah time and the end of the secular year celebrations are emotional for some people. Having not seen loved ones for many months may bring happiness, stress and other feelings. Some family members may not be speaking to one member or members of the family, and that may cause tensions. Especially now with the China Corna virus, while our hearts yearn to be with our family and loved ones we are blessed to have modern technology that can transport us through space and visual see, speak and enjoy their company. This may ease some of the loneliness each of are feeling. Keep in mind that the phone works well too! You may wish your loved ones to join in any of our Shabbat Zoom services, too.
Hanukkah, the time of miracles, people forget this important value of the holiday.
G-d was with all of us at the darkest times in our lives. Even during the fight for freedom with no moon light, and the Maccabees brought forth the light into the world and with it religious freedom!
Michael and I would like to thank the Congregation of Beit Chaverim for your generous Hanukkah gift. It was so kind and thoughtful and very appreciated.
Friday, January 1, 2021 will be “The Prayer Over the City” starting at noon and it will have a live stream TBA.
Sunday,January 3, 2021 will be Governor Elect Spencer Cox’s “Freedom Fireside”, the Interfaith Council of St. George is hosting, and I will be delivering the welcome and offering the Invocation and first blessings. This will also be broadcasted rather than in person. Live from the Tabernacle starting at 7pm. More information coming soon.
I will be teaching “Torah, The Five Books of Moses” for ICL at Dixie State University on Thursdays 11AM -11:50Am in the Science Bldg. room 115. January 7, 2021 is the first class and bring your Chumash/Torah, if you are using the Zoom have your Chumash the Five Books of Moses available to follow along.