Story by Jessica Goldstein
This week brought another beautiful, bright Shabbat celebration. After the prayers were said and the candles lit, everyone was eager to share highlights from their week. Rachel shared that she enjoyed being home with her housemates. Daniel is looking forward to New Year’s Eve and planning to stay up late. Kevin is looking forward to going to see his family for Christmas.
In this week’s torah portion, Vayigash Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers. They are worried that the shock of hearing their brother is alive and well to Jacob (who is now 130 years old) might kill him. They break the news to him gently and he is overjoyed. He asks G-d for permission to take Pharoah up on his invitation and go to Egypt so that his whole family can be reunited. G-d gives him permission and the family set off. One brother goes ahead setting up homes and a school for the family in Goshen. After a reunion with his father, Joseph helped to convince Pharoah that Goshen is a better place for his family to settle since the lifestyle in Egypt is so different and Pharoah agrees. When Jacob and Pharoah meet, they discuss his life over the past 130 years. Jacob blesses Pharoah. G-d hears this prayer and opens the floodgates into Egypt, ending the famine.
In this story, some may accuse Jacob of playing favorites causing the sons to try and get rid of Joseph, but perhaps just because Jacob showed his affection for Jacob differently, does not mean that he was loved more than the other children. In the end, Joseph does not blame his brothers for his past, he believes that it was G-d who set him on the path to be left in the ditch leading him to where he was meant to be, as an advisor to the Pharaoh.
Once again, the celebrations ended for the evening with song. Everyone is looking forward to celebrating Shabbat again next week.