Vayigash (Genesis 44:18 – 47:27)

Since we’re leaving on vacation tomorrow and I haven’t yet packed, here is a rerun from 2005 and 2011. ‘Bye!

“I believe this portion is supposed to be the one with the happy ending.  It tries so hard to be.  First Judah, in his eloquent plea for Benjamin’s release, shows he has become a mensch.  Then Joseph reveals his identity and tearfully announces his forgiveness.  Jacob learns his beloved Joseph is alive, and the whole family comes down to Egypt and settle with their flocks in the land of Goshen, and Jacob is presented to the Pharaoh of Egypt.

“But we know they won’t live happily ever after.  The brothers don’t truly believe Joseph has totally forgiven them and they never had much affection for them in the first place, so they probably feel especially awkward being beholden to him now.  Jacob likely realizes his 10 oldest sons probably at least lied to him about Joseph’s fate, and maybe has figured out the details.  He’s probably angry that Joseph never let him know he was OK.  And he’s also uneasy about staying in Egypt, though God assured him he should go there.  (But stay?  Why not return to Canaan after the famine has eased, as his father and grandfather had?)  Jacob’s family are aliens, strangers in a strange land (more identity issues).   And then Joseph, a former slave, effectively enslaves the Egyptians by forcing them to become serfs to Pharaoh.  Ironic, doubly so in light of the story we will start reading in a few weeks.”

A very early 12/18 Shabbat shalom,
These two were sent out in 2005:

Did you hear about the time when a president went to visit a nursing home?
He walked up to a lady in a wheel chair and tried to be polite, but found that he wasn’t being very successful at carrying on a conversation with her. Finally, in desperation he said, “Ma’am, do you know who I am?”
She answered, “No sir, I don’t know who you are–but if you go up to that desk they can tell you.”

Mistaken Identity

Brochstein walks up to Horowitz in the street, taps him on the shoulder and when Horowitz turns, he sends him sprawling to the ground with a solid zetz to the nose. He then says, “take that, Rosenzweig, you lousy mamzer!!” The bleeding Horowitz shouts back, “I’m Horowitz, you schnook! I am NOT Rosenzweig.”

Realizing his error, Brochstein apologizes profusely and begs forgiveness for the error of mistaken identity. However, Horowitz remains furious and he screams forth a steady blue stream of epithets.

Finally, Brochstein says, “please Horowitz, calm down. Why are you so upset? Why do you care so much about how I treat Rosenzweig?”
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 long has it been since you have spoken to your mother or father?
I consider myself an orphan
It’s been a week or so
I just got of the phone with her

How often do you see or talk to your brother or sister?
Maybe once a week
Frequently but not maybe 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
And these two were sent out in 2009.

Family history

The children of a prominent family chose to give the patriarch a book of their family’s history. The biographer they hired was warned of one problem. Uncle Willie, the “Black Sheep,” had gone to Sing Sing’s Electric chair for murder. The writer carefully handled the situation in the following way: “Uncle Willie occupied a chair of applied electronics at one of our nation’s leading institutions. He was attached to his position by the strongest of ties. His death came as a true shock. –
from Ka Pupa Nihonih (Mayflower Quarterly – Nov 1990)


Family Reunion Jokes

“Where did you get those big eyes?”
“They came with the face.”

A husband said to his wife, “No, I don’t hate your relatives. In fact, I like YOUR mother-in-law better than I like mine!”

A man solved the problem of too many visiting relatives. He borrowed money from the rich ones and loaned it to the poor ones. Now none of them come back.

It first occurred to me that our marriage might be in trouble when my wife won an all expenses paid trip for two to Hawaii – and she went twice.

After 50 years of wondering why he didn’t look like his younger sister or brother, a man finally got up the nerve to ask his mother if he was adopted.
“Yes, you were son,” his mother said as she started to cry softly. “but it didn’t work out and they brought you back.”

A mother was telling her little girl what her own childhood was like: “We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods.” The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this in. At last she said, “I sure wish I’d gotten to know you sooner!”

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