Vayigash (Genesis 44:18 – 47:27) 5773

Yes, we’re back from vacation.  Hawaii.  Blue skies, friendly laid-back people, Kona coffee, Kona brews, perfect weather, mesmerizing waves.  Pretty fish, pretty coral reefs, pretty flowers.  A perfect place for “happily ever after.”

Which brings me to this week’s Torah portion.

Last week’s cliffhanger is resolved by Judah’s eloquent plea offering himself as a slave in place of Benjamin.  Joseph emotionally reveals his identity, asks after his father, and forgives them.  The brothers return to Canaan to fetch Jacob, and the whole household of Jacob’s descendants comes down to Egypt to dwell in Goshen under Joseph’s and Pharaoh’s protection.  Meanwhile, Egypt is saved from famine.  And they all live happily ever after.

At least they do in the Hebrew school version.  Reality is more complex:  Joseph’s older brothers don’t respond warmly to his revelation, unable to accept his genuine forgiveness.  Jacob wants to see Joseph but is uncertain about moving to Egypt and needs divine reassurance.  And, while the family is allowed to live peacefully in Goshen, they no doubt cause Joseph some embarrassment, as Egyptians have a low opinion of shepherds, and Jacob kvetches about his short (he’s 130), miserable life when he is introduced to Pharaoh.  Moreover, in Joseph’s business model, the Egyptians are saved from death, but in exchange, they become serfs of Pharaoh (though the 20% rate they pay isn’t bad in context), an ironic foreboding of the Hebrew slavery to come.

Shabbat shalom,

Quotes About Happily Ever After

“Fairy Tales always have a ‘happy ending.’ That depends… on whether you are Rumpelstiltskin or the Queen.”
― Jane YolenBriar Rose

“And they lived happily (aside from a few normal disagreements, misunderstandings, pouts, silent treatments, and unexpected calamities) ever after.”
― Jean FerrisTwice Upon a Marigold

“It is only possible to live happily ever after on a daily basis.”
― Margaret Bonanno


Mother: Susie, how was the play you attended at the theatre?  Did it have a happy ending?
Susie: Yes, in a way.  Everybody was very happy when it finally ended.


 Top 10 Indicators that you’ve become a gene-aholic:

10. You introduce your daughter as your descendent.
9. You’ve never met any of the people you send e-mail to,
even though you’re related.
8. You can recite your lineage back eight generations,
but can’t remember your nephew’s name.
7. You have more photographs of dead people than living ones.
6. You’ve taken a tape recorder and/or notebook
to a family reunion.
5. You’ve not only read the latest GEDCOM standard,
but you also understand it.
4. The local genealogy society borrows books from you.
3. The only film you’ve seen in the last year
was the 1880 census index.
2. More than 1/2 of your book collection is made up
of marriage records or pedigrees.
1. Your elusive ancestor has been spotted
in more different places than Elvis!

On Moving to The South

If you are from the northern states and planning on visiting or moving to the South, there are a few things you should know that will help you adapt to the difference in lifestyles:

The North has sun-dried toe-mah-toes, the South has ‘mater samiches.
The North has coffee houses, the South has Waffle Houses.
The North has dating services, the South has family reunions.
The North has switchblade knives, the South has Lee Press-on Nails.
The North has double last names, the South has double first names.
The North has the rust belt, the South has the Bible Belt.

If you run your car into a ditch, don’t panic.  Four men in a four-wheel drive pickup truck with a tow chain will be along shortly. Don’t try to help them, just stay out of their way. This is what they live for.

Don’t be surprised to find movie rentals and bait in the same store….Don’t buy food at this store.

Remember, “y’all” is singular, “all y’all” is plural, and “all y’all’s” is plural possessive.

Get used to hearing “You ain’t from ’round here, are ya?”

You may hear a Southerner say “Ought!” to a dog or child. This is short for “Y’all ought not do that!” and is the equivalent of saying “No!”

The first Southern statement to creep into a transplanted Northerner’s vocabulary is the adjective “big’ol,” as in “big’ol truck or “big’ol boy”.  Most Northerners begin their Southern-influenced dialect this way. All of them are in denial about it.

If you hear a Southerner exclaim, “Hey, y’all, watch this,” you should stay out of the way. These are likely to be the last words he’ll ever say.

If there is the prediction of the slightest chance of even the smallest accumulation of snow, your presence is required at the local grocery store. It doesn’t matter whether you need anything or not. You just have to go there.

When you come up on a person driving 15 mph down the middle of the road, remember that most folks learn to drive on a John Deere (tractor), and that is the proper speed and position for that vehicle.

Do not be surprised to find that many 10-year-olds own their own shotguns, they are proficient marksmen, and their mammas taught them how to aim.

If you do settle in the South and bear children, don’t think we will accept them as Southerners. After all, if the cat had kittens in the oven, we wouldn’t call ’em biscuits!

There are 5,000 types of snakes and 4,998 live in Georgia.

If it grows, it sticks. If it crawls, it bites!

“Fixinto” is one word (I’m fixinto go to the store).

(#1643) The false teeth
[My thanks to Richard K for the following]

Moshe has been living in Poland all his life, but just before the 2nd World War, he sees big trouble coming. So he sells all his assets, converts them into gold and then melts down the gold to have five sets of false teeth made for him. He flees Poland and after much travelling, arrives at Ellis Island, New York, where he is interrogated by an immigration official who also goes through the contents of his battered suitcase.

When the official sees the 5 sets of false teeth, he asks Moshe why he has so many. Moshe replies, “As you might know, we orthodox Jews have two separate sets of dishes, one for meat and one for dairy products. However, I’m so kosher and religious that I also need to have separate sets of teeth.”

The official is confused. “Well that accounts for two sets of teeth. What are the other three for?”

“Well,” Moshe replies, “we ultra-Orthodox Jews also use separate dishes for Passover and I’m so observant that I need two sets of Passover teeth to go with the dishes, one for meat and one for dairy food.”

The official is still confused. “You’ve convinced me that you’re a highly religious man and I accept that you therefore need four sets of teeth. But what about the fifth set?”

“Well, to tell you the truth, mister official,” replies Moshe, “every once in a while I like to eat a ham and cheese sandwich.”

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1 Response to Vayigash (Genesis 44:18 – 47:27) 5773

  1. Sarah Brennan says:

    Hi I,

    Glad you and Rich got home safely and that you enjoyed Hawaii. I spent my last vacation days this year in the hospital. Hopefully next year we’ll have some real vacation days.
    Talk to you soon.


    Sarah M. Brennan
    McCausland Keen & Buckman
    259 N. Radnor-Chester Road
    Suite 160
    Radnor, PA 19087-5257
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