Parshat Vayigash: December 11, 2021 – 7 Tevet 5782

Erev Shabbat

Friday, December 10

  • Candle lighting: 4:32 pm

Parshat Vayigash

Shabbat, December 11

  • Stone Chumash p. 250
  • 106 Psukim (verses)
  • Haftorah: Ezekiel Ch. 37 Stone Chumash p. 1144  “Ata Ben Adam”

Important Shabbat Times

  • Candle lighting: 4:32 pm
  • Vasikin (Sunrise): 7:03:16 am
  • Latest Morning Shma: 9:30 am
  • Earliest Mincha: 12:21 pm
  • Sunset: 4:51 pm
  • Havdalah: 5:32 pm
  • Zoom Havdalah: 5:50 pm

Parshat Vayigash

Our Parsha continues where last week’s ended. Joseph accuses Benjamin of stealing his “magic cup” and incarcerates him as his slave; the rest of the brothers are free to return home. Yehuda first begs for mercy, then requests to be taken captive instead of Benjamin. Joseph can no longer control his emotions, and he reveals his true identity. Slowly, the brothers are reconciled. Joseph instructs  them to return to Canaan and bring the rest of the family back to Egypt for the duration of the famine. Jacob is amazed at this turn of events, and leaves Canaan to be reunited with his son. The brothers are received by Pharaoh. Joseph administers the entire country during the famine.

The Moral of the Story

Why did Yosef behave so harshly to his brothers? Shouldn’t he have revealed himself to them immediately upon their arrival? What was he expecting to accomplish? The commentaries explain that Yosef Hatzadik (the righteous) was not exacting his revenge, nor was he merely giving them a taste of what he endured. Before revealing himself to his brothers,Joseph needed to discover for himself whether they had learned the correct lesson from their ill-conceived plot. Yosef was always a “black sheep” in the house of Jacob, and he didn’t seem to fit into the same mold as his brothers. Indeed, Joseph had now completely changed (outwardly) from his former self and seemed no longer a typical member of the tribe. Could they understand and accept that he was still an “Eved Hashem,” a true servant of G-d, albeit in a different manner than they?  When Yosef saw that his brothers were willing to sacrifice their very lives in order to save Binyamin, he understood that they would now be willing to do the same for him as well. The bonds of brotherhood had become unshakeable.

Mitzvah of the Week: The Laws of Muktza

As a precaution against the desecration of the Sabbath, the Rabbis of the Talmud restricted what a Jew may handle on Shabbat; they created the prohibition of Muktza. The rabbis were concerned that if we were permitted to touch any object at all, there would be no psychological difference between Shabbat and a weekday. Therefore, they forbade touching items such as money and utensils which are used for activities prohibited on Shabbat. There are four basic categories of Muktza. The first category is Muktza resulting from non-function. This means that any (non-food, non-utensil) object that has no function on Shabbat  may not be handled. This includes sticks, stones, sand, money, raw flour, or any broken utensil that no longer retains any function at all. All these are called Muktza of non-function, or in Hebrew: מוקצה מחמת גופו. To be continued…

This Week in Jewish History

  • 418 BCE: The 10th of Tevet. The City of Jerusalem was put under siege, and the road to destruction began.

  • 2nd Cent. BCE: 8th of Tevet. The Seventy Elders of the Sanhedrin translated the Bible into Greek, by order of King Ptolemy of Alexandria. Today this is known as the Septuagint. This act  was viewed as a tragedy by the Jewish People and is observed as a fast day to this day.

  • The ninth of Tevet. A fast day, source unknown.

Shabbat Shalom!