Vaera - weekly Torah portion

Moses hears from God a great vision and is asked to deliver it to the Israelites. “Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the Lord.” A nation of slaves is going to be a free People, relieved from the bu

Shemot - weekly Torah portion

The Book of Exodus begins this way, “Now these are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob; they came each one with his household: Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. All the persons who came from the loins of Jacob were seventy in number, but Joseph was already in Egypt.” We already know all of this as we read them carefully in the last chapters of the Book of Genesis, and this starts with a repetition of what is already known. It is mentioned that Joseph has died, and that “all his brothers and all that generation. But the sons of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly, and multiplied, and became exceedin

Vayechy - weekly Torah portion

It has only been a short while ago that we have read about Joseph being the great reformer of the Egyptian economy in a way that helped it overcome a period of major crisis. He changes the entire economic structure for achieving that goal. Now, with his father on his death bed, he brings his two sons to receive a blessing from him. “When it was told to Jacob, “Behold, your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel collected his strength and sat up in the bed.” He briefly tells Joseph the story of his life up to the point where his mother, Rachel, dies and is buried in Bethlehem. Then it is said, “When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, ‘Who are these?’... Now the eyes of Israel were so dim from ag

Vayigash - weekly Torah portion

Judah took a big risk upon himself addressing Joseph directly, the man he defines as being “equal to Pharaoh.” He explains to him the difficulty that he, Joseph, has presented upon their aging father. Jacob told them, say Jodah, “You know that my wife bore me two sons; and the one went out from me, and I said, ‘Surely he is torn in pieces,’ and I have not seen him since. ‘ If you take this one also from me, and harm befalls him, you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.’” Judah continues and explains that he will not be able to return to his father without Benjamin as “when he sees that the lad is not with us, he will die. Thus your servants will bring the gray hair of your servan

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