Vayigash (Genesis 44:18 – 47:27)

Bit of a time crunch.  Yes, that happens even in retirement.  Too many errands and tasks to get done before we leave on a brief vacation.  So, not for the first time, you are being subjected to a rerun commentary, originally sent out in 2007.

“This week, the story of Joseph, his brothers, and his father, climaxes and
begins to wind down.  Judah’s eloquent pleading on Benjamin’s behalf, to
the extent of offering himself as a slave in his stead, convinces Joseph
that the brothers have changed and become menschen (more or less).  Jacob
learns he has 12 living sons, comes down to Egypt with the whole mishpocha,
all 70 souls (and all 70 names are listed, as I learned when I was assigned
to read the middle 60 or so verses of this portion), meets Pharaoh, and
kvetches.   Joseph arranges for them to live in Goshen, ostensibly so they
can live as shepherds without offending Egyptian sensibilities; but it was
probably a move that left all relieved.  Joseph, while technically still a
member of the family, has become so different from the rest of them that it
is best that they come together only occasionally, for brief periods (not
that any of us come from families like that…).  Like many Biblical
stories, this one is taught in elementary Hebrew School in an overly
simplistic manner.   Everyone does not “kiss and make up” (OK, Joseph did
kiss everybody, but it appears only Benjamin and Jacob responded in kind).
Joseph does not go back to being a simple shepherd but continues to run
Egypt as an able servant to Pharaoh.  His brothers, still haunted by their
cruelty years before, do not believe Joseph has forgiven them.  And Jacob
is really not happy about settling in Egypt, even though it was done with a
divine OK (46:3-4).

“Joseph is connected with a coat of many colors, and in the Torah he has
many faces.  In Jewish literature, he is known as “Yosef HaTzaddik,”
“Joseph the Righteous,” though there are different opinions as to why:
because he turned down Potiphar’s wife, or because he was at a high enough
moral level to be able to receive prophesy through dreams (I doubt that one
– look at Balaam’s dreams) or just de facto, evidenced by his being the
conduit through which the Lord acted to save the Middle East from severe
famine.  But we also see him as a frankly obnoxious teenager, a sharp
dealer when he maneuvers Pharaoh into making him viceroy, a Hebrew who
looks and sounds like an Egyptian yet gives his sons Hebrew names, possibly
a bit of a snob when his country-bumpkin family moves in, an efficient
businessman who manages to turn most of the Egyptians into serfs
(47:20-27), a neglectful son who didn’t know for over twenty years whether
his father was alive or not.   And there are holes left in the story, even
if you just say, as Joseph did, don’t worry about everything that happened,
it was meant to, it was the Lord’s will: Why didn’t Joseph check on his
father’s well-being, even surreptitiously?  Didn’t he care?  How did the
brothers explain Joseph’s re-appearance in Egypt after being torn by wild
beasts?  How much did Jacob really know or suspect about what had happened?
Wouldn’t he have wondered why Joseph tested his brothers why they came to
buy food and why he hadn’t heard from Joseph himself?  More puzzles, more
to ponder each year.”

Shabbat shalom,


Sent out in 2006

Are you from a dysfunctional family? Take the quiz and find out. [Sample questions are below.  The complete quiz, with a button to push to get your score, is at   ]

How often do you see or talk to your brother or sister?
Maybe once a week
Frequently but not every week
I have an unlisted phone number that I would rather gnaw off my own arm than give them

The phone is ringing. Caller ID says that it’s your brother. What do you do?
Pick up the phone because you can’t wait to talk to him
Let the answering machine get it but call him back later
Assume someone has died, so you pick up the phone to find out who

What is more prevalent in your family?
Mental retardation

Is it always your fault?
Not always
Is the Pope Catholic?

When you visited your parents last:
They were really happy to see you and cooked a nice family dinner
It was a bit tense but overall it was a good visit
You were greeted by a note on the front door telling you to drop dead


One day an immigrant from Poland entered a New York City Police Precinct to report that his American wife was planning to kill him.
The police officer on duty was intrigued by this, and he asked, “How sure are ya that she is gonna kill ya? Did she threaten to kill ya?”
“No,” replied the nervous immigrant.
“Did ya hear her tell someone else that she’s gonna kill ya?”
“Did someone tell ya that your wife is gonna kill ya?”
“Then why in God’s name did ya think she’s gonna kill ya?” asked the exasperated police officer.
“Because I found bottle on dresser and I think she gonna poison me!” He handed the police officer the suspect bottle.
The police officer took one look at the label on the bottle and started to laugh out loud.
The immigrant became indignant and said, “What’s so funny? Can’t you see the label on bottle says ‘Polish Remover’?”


tph functional family jpeg


Cow Knowledge joke

City Slicker was visiting relatives, and his cousin, Country Bumpkin took him out to the pastures to see the livestock. After a while, City Slicker asked “How come not all the cows have horns?”

Country Bumpkin quickly explained-” Some are born that way, they are called naturally polled. Others, for safety reasons, we burn the baby horns off.”

City Slicker thought for a while, then pointing at a black and white animal, asked “How come that cow doesn’t have horns?”

After falling off the fence, Country Bumpkin finally replied “Cuz it’s a HORSE!!!”

(#2125) Jewish Texting Codes for Seniors
[My thanks to Asher for the following]

ASOTV……… Alan Sugar’s On TV
BTW…………. Bring The Wheelchair
BYOT………… Bring Your Own Teeth
DWI…………… Driving While Incontinent
FWB………….. Friend With Beta-blockers
FWIW ………….Forgot Where I Was
FYI…………….. For Your Indigestion
GTG………….. Gotta Groan
IMHO…………. Is My Hearing-Aid On?
JK…………….. Just Kvetching
OMG………… Ouch, My Groin!
ROFL-CGU… Rolling On The Floor Laughing – Can’t Get Up
RULKM…….. Are You Leaving Kids Money?
TGIF…………. Thank Goodness It’s Four (Four O’Clock – Early Bird Special)
WIWYA…….. When I Was Your Age
WTF…………. What’s Today’s Fish?
YYY…………… Yadda, yadda, yadda

(I neither text nor tweet. IGP)

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