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Commentary - Year 1 Sabbath 42

Genesis 44:18 - 46:27   -   Joshua 14:6-14,  Ezekiel 37:9-14   -   Psalm 38   -   Acts 2:22-37
 

 

Tevet 28, 5762 / Jan 12, 2002 

Tevet 27, 5765 / Jan   8, 2005

Tevet 27, 5768 / Jan   5, 2008

Tevet 27, 5771 / Jan   1, 2011

Tevet 25, 5774 / Dec 28, 2013

Shevat  1, 5777 / Jan  28, 2017

 

Vayigash / Then He Approached   SCRIPTURES should be read first

 

This is one of the most emotional scenes in all of Scripture.

 

Joseph had named his first son Manasseh, partly because God made him forget his father’s household (v.41:51) – meaning that it was no longer in the forefront of his memory. Now all is brought into immediate remembrance, with Judah telling how his father’s life is wrapped up in Joseph and Benjamin. With Joseph presumed dead, Benjamin is as an only son to Jacob – being the only known living son of his late beloved wife Rachael.

 

To add to the emotion, Judah is now taking responsibility for Benjamin and his father’s peace. Joseph has the answer he sought, that his brothers have a new attitude.

 

Joseph can no longer retain his composure.

 

At issue was Jacob’s prospective loss of peace over a missing son. Benjamin had ten children at home: their prospective loss of peace due to a missing father was not mentioned. Judah’s testimony here is used as an example of how parents have more compassion for their children than children have for their parents (R.Menachem Mendel of Kotzk).

 

Judah (v.24) spoke of “your servant, my father”. Joseph could have said that a resident of Canaan was not his servant, without revealing his identity. But he kept silent when his father was described in this “degrading manner”. The sages (Sotah 13b) say that Joseph lost ten years of his life for doing so. In any case, this is basis for consideration of how children should respect their parents.

 

Judah relates details here (v.27-28) that were not recorded in the previous account (v.43:6-7). It is common for the Torah to be brief in one place, and then give details later where they are more pertinent. We see this in the account of creation (Gen.1 vs. Gen.2), and in Eve’s saying “Neither shall you touch . . .” (v.3:3) [If, as some say, Eve had added these words, that would have been the first human sin (lying), rather than the taking of the forbidden fruit upon being tempted].

 

Joseph’s uncontrollable weeping could be heard by the stewards whom he had sent out. For one in such an office to be heard weeping was cause for concern throughout the kingdom.

 

Joseph then stunned his brothers with, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?”

 

Hear what an Orthodox Rabbinical source (Chafetz Chaim) says:

When Joseph said, ‘I am Joseph,’ God’s master plan became clear to the brothers. They had no more questions. Everything that had happened for the last twenty-two years fell into perspective. So, too, will it be in the time to come when God will reveal Himself and announce. ‘I am Hashem!’ The veil will be lifted from our eyes and we will comprehend everything that transpired throughout history.

 

Here are some related prophecies concerning the return of Yeshua:

 

 “Then I will turn your festivals into mourning and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring sackcloth on everyone's loins and baldness on every head. And I will make it like a time of mourning for an only son, and the end of it will be like a bitter day” – Amos 8:10.

 

And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, . . .the families that remain, every family by itself and their wives by themselves. In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity. It will come about in that day,” declares Yahweh of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered; . . .  And one will say to him, 'What are these wounds between your arms?' Then he will say, 'Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.' ” – Zechariah 12:9 – 13:6.

 

Joseph then sent his brothers home with food and provision for all of them to return to live in the rich Nile Delta of Egypt. There they would be separate from Egyptian idolatry, the reason given the Egyptians being because they were shepherds.

 

Jacob and his descendants who dwelt in Egypt numbered seventy men. After hundreds of years, Israel would be delivered from Egypt, returned to the Promised Land, and forbidden to ever return to Egypt.

 

We have been placed in a rich land. But when we finally are delivered to the Promised Land, we will never be allowed to return to this world of sin.

 

The portion from Joshua refers to the return to Canaan after four-hundred years. The portion from Ezekiel tells of a future return to the Promised Land.

 

Today’s Psalm sounds like Joseph’s brothers pleading:

1 Rebuke me not in Your wrath, and chasten me not in Your burning anger. 4 For my iniquities are gone over my head; as a heavy burden they weigh too much for me. 5 My wounds grow foul and fester because of my folly. 6 I am bent over and greatly bowed down; 17 For I am ready to fall, and my sorrow is continually before me. 18 For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin.”

 

In Acts 2, Peter tells a story reminiscent of Joseph and his brothers. His audience, Yeshua’s brethren of the tribe of Judah, are told that they crucified their Messiah. But God brought Him back, and they would one day bow to Him, and He would rule over them.

 

But, as Joseph said to his brothers, it was all in God’s plan. Like Joseph, Yeshua was not left in the pit.

 

Readings:

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who chose us from among all peoples by giving us Your Torah.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

 

Reader 1*  Amen. 18 (Vayinash elayv Yehudah / Then-approached toward-him Yehudah )

 

18 Then Judah approached him, and said, "Oh my lord, may your servant please speak a word in my lord's ears, and do not be angry with your servant; for you are equal to Pharaoh. 19 "My lord asked his servants, saying, 'Have you a father or a brother?' 20 "We said to my lord, 'We have an old father and a little child of his old age. Now his brother is dead, so he alone is left of his mother, and his father loves him.' 21 "Then you said to your servants, 'Bring him down to me that I may set my eyes on him.' 22 "But we said to my lord, 'The lad cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.' 23 "You said to your servants, however, 'Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.' 24 "Thus it came about when we went up to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. 25 "Our father said, 'Go back, buy us a little food.' 26 "But we said, 'We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down; for we cannot see the man's face unless our youngest brother is with us.'

Reader 2*  Amen. 27 "Your servant my father said to us, 'You know that my wife bore me two sons; 28 and the one went out from me, and I said, "Surely he is torn in pieces," and I have not seen him since. 29 'If you take this one also from me, and harm befalls him, you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.' 30 "Now, therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the lad is not with us, since his life is bound up in the lad's life, 31 when he sees that the lad is not with us, he will die. Thus your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant our father down to Sheol in sorrow. 32 "For your servant became surety for the lad to my father, saying, 'If I do not bring him back to you, then let me bear the blame before my father forever.' 33 "Now, therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers. 34 "For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me-- for fear that I see the evil that would overtake my father?"

Reader 3*  Amen. 45:1 Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried, "Have everyone go out from me." So there was no man with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2 He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard of it. 3 Then Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?" But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. 4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Please come closer to me." And they came closer. And he said, "I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 "Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 "For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 "God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. 8 "Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

Reader 4*  Amen. 9 "Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, 'Thus says your son Joseph, "God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. 10 "You shall live in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children's children and your flocks and your herds and all that you have. 11 "There I will also provide for you, for there are still five years of famine to come, and you and your household and all that you have would be impoverished."' 12 "Behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see, that it is my mouth which is speaking to you. 13 "Now you must tell my father of all my splendor in Egypt, and all that you have seen; and you must hurry and bring my father down here." 14 Then he fell on his brother Benjamin's neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. 15 He kissed all his brothers and wept on them, and afterward his brothers talked with him.

Reader 5*  Amen. 16 Now when the news was heard in Pharaoh's house that Joseph's brothers had come, it pleased Pharaoh and his servants. 17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Say to your brothers, 'Do this: load your beasts and go to the land of Canaan, 18 and take your father and your households and come to me, and I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you will eat the fat of the land.' 19 "Now you are ordered, 'Do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father and come. 20 'Do not concern yourselves with your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.'" 21 Then the sons of Israel did so; and Joseph gave them wagons according to the command of Pharaoh, and gave them provisions for the journey. 22 To each of them he gave changes of garments, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of garments. 23 To his father he sent as follows: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and sustenance for his father on the journey. 24 So he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, "Do not quarrel on the journey."

Reader 6*  Amen. 25 Then they went up from Egypt, and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob. 26 They told him, saying, "Joseph is still alive, and indeed he is ruler over all the land of Egypt." But he was stunned, for he did not believe them. 27 When they told him all the words of Joseph that he had spoken to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28 Then Israel said, "It is enough; my son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die."

46:1 So Israel set out with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, "Jacob, Jacob." And he said, "Here I am." 3 He said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. 4 "I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will close your eyes."

Reader 7*  Amen. 5 Then Jacob arose from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob and their little ones and their wives in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. 6 They took their livestock and their property, which they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and came to Egypt, Jacob and all his descendants with him: 7 his sons and his grandsons with him, his daughters and his granddaughters, and all his descendants he brought with him to Egypt. 8 Now these are the names of the sons of Israel, Jacob and his sons, who went to Egypt:

Reuben, Jacob's firstborn. 9 The sons of Reuben: Hanoch and Pallu and Hezron and Carmi. 10 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel and Jamin and Ohad and Jachin and Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman. 11 The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 12 The sons of Judah: Er and Onan and Shelah and Perez and Zerah (but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan). And the sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul. 13 The sons of Issachar: Tola and Puvvah and Iob and Shimron. 14 The sons of Zebulun: Sered and Elon and Jahleel. 15 These are the sons of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob in Paddan-aram, with his daughter Dinah; all his sons and his daughters numbered thirty-three. 16 The sons of Gad: Ziphion and Haggi, Shuni and Ezbon, Eri and Arodi and Areli. 17 The sons of Asher: Imnah and Ishvah and Ishvi and Beriah and their sister Serah. And the sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel. 18 These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to his daughter Leah; and she bore to Jacob these sixteen persons. 19 The sons of Jacob's wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. 20 Now to Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore to him. 21 The sons of Benjamin: Bela and Becher and Ashbel, Gera and Naaman, Ehi and Rosh, Muppim and Huppim and Ard. 22 These are the sons of Rachel, who were born to Jacob; there were fourteen persons in all. 23 The sons of Dan: Hushim. 24 The sons of Naphtali: Jahzeel and Guni and Jezer and Shillem. 25 These are the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to his daughter Rachel, and she bore these to Jacob; there were seven persons in all.

26 All the persons belonging to Jacob, who came to Egypt, his direct descendants, not including the wives of Jacob's sons, were sixty-six persons in all, 27 and the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt were two; all the persons of the house of Jacob, who came to Egypt, were seventy.

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

______________________

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who selected good prophets, delighting in their words which were spoken truthfully.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,

and the prophets of truth and righteousness."

 

Joshua 14:6-14

Reader 8*  Amen. 6 Then the sons of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know the word which Yahweh spoke to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh-barnea. 7 "I was forty years old when Moses the servant of Yahweh sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart. 8 "Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed Yahweh my God fully. 9 "So Moses swore on that day, saying, 'Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed Yahweh my God fully.' 10 "Now behold, Yahweh has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that Yahweh spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. 11 "I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. 12 "Now then, give me this hill country about which Yahweh spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps Yahweh will be with me, and I will drive them out as Yahweh has spoken." 13 So Joshua blessed him and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. 14 Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite until this day, because he followed Yahweh God of Israel fully.

 

Ezekiel 37:9-14

Reader 9*  Amen. 9 Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says Lord Yahweh, "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life."'" 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. 11 Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.' 12 "Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says Lord Yahweh, "Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 "Then you will know that I am Yahweh, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. 14 "I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, Yahweh, have spoken and done it," declares Yahweh.'"

 

Psalm 38    (To be sung.)   A Psalm of David, for a memorial.

1 O Yahweh, rebuke me not in Your wrath, and chasten me not in Your burning anger. 2 For Your arrows have sunk deep into me, and Your hand has pressed down on me. 3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. 4 For my iniquities are gone over my head; as a heavy burden they weigh too much for me. 5 My wounds grow foul and fester because of my folly. 6 I am bent over and greatly bowed down; I go mourning all day long. 7 For my loins are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am benumbed and badly crushed; I groan because of the agitation of my heart. 9 Lord, all my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hidden from You. 10 My heart throbs, my strength fails me; and the light of my eyes, even that has gone from me. 11 My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague; and my kinsmen stand afar off. 12 Those who seek my life lay snares for me; and those who seek to injure me have threatened destruction, and they devise treachery all day long. 13 But I, like a deaf man, do not hear; and I am like a mute man who does not open his mouth. 14 Yes, I am like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth are no arguments. 15 For I hope in You, O Yahweh; You will answer, O Lord my God. 16 For I said, "May they not rejoice over me, who, when my foot slips, would magnify themselves against me." 17 For I am ready to fall, and my sorrow is continually before me. 18 For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin. 19 But my enemies are vigorous and strong, and many are those who hate me wrongfully. 20 And those who repay evil for good, they oppose me, because I follow what is good. 21 Do not forsake me, O Yahweh; O my God, do not be far from me! 22 Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

 

Acts 2:22-37

Reader 10*  Amen. 22 "Men of Israel, listen to these words: Yeshua the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know-- 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24 "But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.

Reader 11*  Amen. 25 "For David says of Him, 'I saw the Lord always in my presence; for He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; moreover my flesh also will live in hope; 27 because You will not abandon my soul to hades, nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.' 29 "Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 "And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that He was neither abandoned to hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. 32 "This Yeshua God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.

Reader 12*  Amen. 33 "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. 34 "For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: 'The Lord said to my lord, "Sit at My right hand, 35 until I make Your enemies a footstool for your feet."' 36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Messiah-- this Yeshua whom you crucified." 37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Rock of Ages, righteous throughout all generations.

You are the faithful God, promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,

for all Your words are true and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."


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(Followers of the Messiah)