Parashat Miketz

Joseph interprets Pharaoh's dreams and is appointed to implement Egypt's anti-famine plan, which brings him into contact with his brothers again.

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Joseph's Interpretations Come to Life

Joseph went throughout Egypt during the lands of plenty, storing grain in the cities. Two sons were born during this time to Joseph and his wife Asenath. Joseph named his first-born Menashe, "For God has made all my trouble and all my father's house into creditors for me." The second son he named Ephraim, "For God has caused me to blossom in the land of my affliction."

The seven years of plenty came to an end and famine entered the land. When the people began to complain to Pharaoh about the famine, Joseph opened the storehouses and began to sell the grain. All over Egypt, hungry people came to Joseph to buy food.

Jacob sent all of his sons but Benjamin to buy food in Egypt. Jacob was afraid that an accident might befall his youngest son.

The Brothers are Accused of Spying

When Joseph saw that his brothers had come to buy grain, he made himself a stranger and they did not recognize him. Joseph remembered his childhood dream of his brothers bowing down to him. Joseph said to them, "You are spies."

"No," Joseph’s brother replied. "We are 12 brothers of one man in the land of Canaan. The youngest is with our father and the other is gone."

"I have said you are spies. Therefore you shall be tested. Therefore one of you stay here and the rest of you go fetch your younger brother."

They said to each other, "Distress has come upon us because of what we did to our brother, Joseph."

Reuben said, "Did I not tell you not to sin against that child? But you would not listen. Behold, his blood is therefore now avenged."

Now Joseph was listening, but the brothers did not know he understood their language. Joseph turned away from them and wept.

Joseph came back in the room and took Simeon and bound him before their eyes. Then he filled the rest of the brother's vessels with grain and put their money back into their sacks along with provisions for the journey.

Along their travels, a brother noticed the provisions and the money. They were frightened. "What is this that God has done to us?"

When the brothers reached their father’s home, they told him of their visit. They told him that he they must bring Benjamin to Egypt in order to prove they are not spies and to be able to bring back Simeon.

"Joseph is gone," retorts Jacob, "and Simeon, and now you want to take Benjamin? Are you to make me childless?"

Then Reuben said, "You can kill my two sons if I do not bring him home to you. Put him into my hands and I will bring him back to you."

But Jacob refused to let Benjamin go. The famine was severe in the land, and Jacob needed his sons to go get grain from Egypt. They would not go without Benjamin. Finally, Jacob agreed to let Benjamin go. He had his sons bring gifts for the Egyptian overseer and insisted that they return the money from their packs.

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Nancy Reuben Greenfield

Nancy Reuben Greenfield has written three adaptations of the Torah, including an
interactive family version at, and an engaging
Jewish immigrant novel, The Golden Medina, available on itunes and Amazon.