Parashat Vayigash

Questions

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Provided by the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, exploring Torah through the original sources.

1. When Joseph finally revealed himself to his brothers, he said: "I am Joseph; doth my father yet live?" What was his brothers' response?

2. Joseph tells his brothers not to grieve or be angry with themselves for having sold him into slavery. What is his reasoning?

3. What was Pharaoh's reaction when he heard that Joseph's family would be coming to camp out in Egypt?

4. What did Joseph give the brothers for the trip back to Caanan? What different gift did he give to Benjamin?

5. What can we learn from the gifts to Joseph's brothers?

6. One has the impression from last week's parashah and also this week's that Benjamin is still a very young man. Judah calls him a lad. Is that so? If you think not, what is your proof?

7. Along the way to Egypt, Jacob had a dream. In the dream, what did God tell him? How was that similar to or different from the experiences of his father and grandfather?

8. How many of Jacob's family went on the trip down to Egypt, including Jacob?

9. On the journey to Egypt, Jacob stopped to make sacrifices to God. Where did he do that?

10. What did Joseph tell his brothers to say about how they made a living and why?

11. Pharaoh asked Jacob his age. What did Jacob reply? What did he mean by "few and evil"?

12. After the Egyptians had spent all the money they had, they came to Joseph and asked for bread. Joseph sold them bread for the rest of that year in exchange for what?

13. After the Egyptians had sold all their herds, what did Joseph take next and what did he give them in exchange?

Answers

1. Joseph's brothers could not answer him because of their fright (45:3).

2.  Joseph's reasoning was that God had a plan and sent him to Egypt to preserve life due to the upcoming famine (45:5-8).

3.  Pharaoh was very pleased that Joseph's family was coming to camp out in Egypt and he offered them the fat of the land (45:16-18).

4.  Joseph gave his brother's wagons and provisions for the way and to each man a change of clothing. To Benjamin, he gave five changes of clothing and 300 shekalim of silver (45:21-22).

5.  Joseph hadn't learned all that much about dealing in family affairs.

6. When the parashah lists who went down to Egypt with Jacob, it lists Benjamin's ten sons. He was 31 years old (46:21).

7. God said, "I will make of thee a great nation; I will go down with you, and bring you back" (46:3-4). Abraham went to Egypt because of famine--not because of God's commandment. Isaac never left the Land.

8.   Jacob went down to Egypt with 67 members of his family. With Joseph and his two sons there were 70 people (46:26-27).

9. Jacob stopped to make sacrifices to God in Beer Sheva (46:5).

10.  Joseph told his brothers to tell Pharaoh that they were shepherds. He knew the Egyptians detested shepherds because they worshiped animals and Pharaoh would shun them and let them settle in the relative isolation of Goshen where they would avoid the corruption of Egyptian society (46:32-34).

11. "The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years; few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning" (47:9). He meant by "few and evil" that he had not lived as long as his fathers and his years had been difficult and unhappy.

12. Joseph sold them bread in exchange for all their cattle and herds (47:19).

13.  Joseph took all their land in exchange for seed to plant. Plus they were required to pay to Pharaoh 20% of all they produced (47:23-24).

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