Parashat Vayigash וַיִּגַּשׁ

Yehuda is the king of Israel and Yosef is the king of Egypt. Binyamin is now in “captivity” in Yosef’s palace, as collateral to guarantee Yaakov’s descent to Egypt. Yehuda approached Yosef and spoke to his “ear”; this teaches us that first he spoke softly trying to appease Yosef. The word the Torah emphasizes here is “davar” (“דָבָר”), which is the acronym of “Din Betaarovet Rachamim” (“דין בתערובת רחמים”). Yehuda was asking Yosef to combine justice with mercy and to judge them with fairness and mercy. Yehuda used HaShem’s name (Master) twice in the first verse once as “Bi Adoni” (“בִּי אֲדֹנִי”) and “BeOznei Adoni” (“בְּאָזְנֵי אֲדֹנִי”). The Torah explains that it is always best to try a peaceful approach prior to confrontational approach, as was advised by King Solomon in the book of Mishlei. Yehuda offered himself as a slave in exchange  for Yosef in order to free Binyamin. He also told Yosef “you are just like Pharaoh”, as he too used to capture and enslave people. The reason he said that was to remind Yosef of the punishment Pharaoh received when he kidnaped Sarah. It also comes to teach us that Yehuda did not recognize Yosef, and he hoped to frighten him in order to release Binyamin.

The Gaon Chida (Rabbi Haim David Azulai) teaches us that one must always pray before anything he wants to succeed with in his/her’s lives. The Chida explains that we notice of such deed by the first three words in our Parasha, “Vayigash Elav Yehuda” (“וַיִּגַּשׁ אֵלָיו יְהוּדָה”), the word “אֵלָיו” speaks of HaShem. Yehuda was first approaching HaShem, as we see from the word “Elev” (“אֵלָיו”); “El Yud-Vav” (“אֵלָ-יו”), meaning HaShem Elohim. Yehuda first prayed to HaShem and ask for success, before he went to Yosef. From the next term “Bi Adoni” (“בִּי אֲדֹנִי”), Yehuda was saying to Yosef ‘HaShem is with me’. Rabbi Mair Eliyahu points out the acronym of the word “Vayigash (“וַיִּגַּשׁ”), which stands for: “ו.י.ג.ש” -ועתה יהיה גילוי שכינה”; “and now will be a discovery of the Divine Holiness”

  1. The letter “Vov” is for “ועתה – VeAtah” (and now)
  2. The letter “Yud” is for “יהיה – Yehiyea” (will be)
  3. The letter “Gimel” is for “גילוי – Giluie” (discovery of)
  4. The letter “Shin” is for “שכינה – Shechinah” (divine holiness)

It would be appropriate to point out here that before Tefilat Shemona Esreh (the “Amidah”) we say: “Adonai Sefatai Tiftach, U’Pi Yagid Tehilatecha” (“אדוני שפתי תיפתח ופי יגיד תהילתך”), which is an acronym to “Eshet Yefat Toar” (“אשת יפת תואר”), another name for the “שכינה” “Shechinah” (Divine Holiness), as mentioned in the Torah. Before we stand in front of Hashem we ask the “Shechinah” to accompany us.

Yehuda blamed Yosef twice while Yosef was blaming them for stealing money from him. He first demanded justice from Yosef as he claimed that he is a “god-fearing” man. He asked Yosef, how come, from all the foreign visitors who came to purchase food, the ten brothers were the only ones being interrogated for theft, along with their brother, and father? He reminded Yosef that he asked to see Binyamin and not to take him for a slave. At this point Yehuda was getting ready to go to war with Egypt. In verse 44:30-31 Yehuda said to Yosef “now therefore when I come to your servant, my father, and the lad is not with us”. Seeing that his soul is bound up with the lad’s soul, he will see that the lad is not there and he will die”. As its written in the Torah “וְעַתָּה, כְּבֹאִי אֶל-עַבְדְּךָ אָבִי, וְהַנַּעַר, אֵינֶנּוּ אִתָּנוּ; וְנַפְשׁוֹ, קְשׁוּרָה בְנַפְשׁוֹ”, “וְהָיָה, כִּרְאוֹתוֹ כִּי-אֵין הַנַּעַר וָמֵת”. The Zohar teaches us that the “lad” is us (our soul) Bnei-Yisrael, and the “father” is HaShem, as our Neshamah is part of HaShem. We learn this from Beresheet (verse 2:7), as the Torah writes “and HaShem breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, a Nefesh” (“וַיִּפַּח בְּאַפָּיו, נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים; וַיְהִי הָאָדָם, לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה”).

Our Sages explain that before the search for the missing silver goblet, that was “planted” by Menashe in Binyamin’s bag, the brothers declared (verse 44:9) that “he with whom the goblet is found shall die”. Yosef changed their declaration and eliminated the “die” part. Basically Yaakov did the same thing when, unknowingly, he cursed Rachel, who took her father’s idols. Rashi teaches that Yaakov’s declaration caused her to die on their way back to Israel (Canaan), even though the idols were not found with her. We learn that the curse of a “Chacham” is carried out no matter what. Here, the goblet was indeed found with Binyamin. The reason Binyamin did not die as “his brothers declared”, lies in the exact wordings of the two declarations with Yosef’s word.

Yosef said to him, “Yehuda!  Why are you, of all your brothers, the speaker”? I see in my goblet that there are those among you who are older!” Yehuda said to him, “All this that you see is because of the guarantee that I gave for him [Binyamin].” Yosef responded, by saying to him, “Why did you not guarantee your brother when you sold him to the Yishmaelim for twenty silver coins, causing your elderly father grief, when you said to him, ‘Yosef was torn apart [by a wild beast]’, even though he never sinned”?  Regarding this one, who sinned and stole a goblet, tell your father that, ‘The rope follows the bucket!” When Yehuda heard this, he shouted and wept in a loud voice, saying, “For how can I go to my father if the boy is not with me!” Later in this passage, Midrash Tanchuma records a similar harsh exchange of words: Yehuda said to Yosef “What shall I say to my father”? Yosef said to him, “I already told you: Say to your father, ‘The rope follows the bucket”, hinting of him being sold. Yehuda said to him, “You are rendering a false judgment against us!” Yosef said to him, “Falsehood is for liars”! There is no false judgment like the sale of your brother!”

Yehuda said to him, “I am now going to go and dye all the markets of Egypt with blood!” Yosef said to him, “You have always been dyers – like when you dyed your brother’s cloak with blood and said to your father, “He was torn apart by a wild beast”. According to this depiction, Yehuda protested Yosef’s treatment of the brothers, and Yosef retorted by noting the brothers’ guilt in their treatment of him many years earlier.  And in response to Yehuda’s question, “What shall I say to my father?” Yosef answered, “The rope followed the bucket” meaning Binyamin suffered the same fate as his older brother. Just as the rope attached to the bucket will always follow the bucket into the well, similarly, Binyamin followed Yosef to the bitter fate of slavery in a foreign country. This was clearly intended as a stinging criticism of Yehuda, who argued for Binyamin’s freedom after selling Yosef as a slave, as though trying to throw the bucket into the well and expecting the rope to remain in place.

From Yehuda’s discussions with Yosef, we learn that he finally realized that Binyamin was not part of the sin of “selling Yosef” and therefore he was ready to go to war against Yosef. Yehuda said to Yosef (Egypt viceroy) “Ki Kamocha Pharaoh” (“כִּי כָמוֹךָ, כְּפַרְעֹה”), meaning you are just like Pharaoh who took Sarah and got punished for.

There is an amazing teaching by this Midrash, about Binyamin and the Egyptian viceroy (Yosef) conspiring against the brothers with the goblet while keeping a secret. The Gemara says that six people in the Torah “kept” a secret in order to allow for greater good of Bnei-Yisrael, essentially saving them all.  It is hidden in the acronym to the first word in our Torah “בראשית”, “Beresheet”.

  1. The letter “ב- Beit” is for “בינימין – BenYamin” (who kept the secret of the goblet)
  2. The letter “ר – Reish” is for “רחל – Rachel” (who kept the secret of the codes she gave Leah)
  3. The letter “א – Alef” is for “אסתר – Ester” (who kept the secret of being Jewish from the king)
  4. The letter “ש – Shin” is for “שאול – Shaul” (who kept the secret of his kingship from his father)
  5. The letter “י – Yud” is for “יוסף – Yosef” (who kept the secret of being a king from his father)
  6. The letter “ת – Taf” is for “תמר – Tamar” (who kept the secret of Yehuda being the father of her sons)

In light of Yosef’s blaming the brothers, Yehuda sent Nafftali to survey the land of Egypt. Nafftali was extremely fast (as a deer) and the Midrash says that it took him few minutes to tour the entire land and return to report back to Yehuda about the twelve portions of Egypt. Yosef feared for his brothers, Egypt and the outcome, so he ordered three hundred warriors from Pharaoh to come to his palace to deter Yehuda. Upon the arrival of these warriors, Yehuda let a loud roar (as a lion) and the three hundred warriors lost their teeth and ran away terrified of Yehuda’s powers.

Yosef saw HaShem’s Divine presence in Yehuda and could not hold his secret from his brothers any longer. He asked all the servants and Egyptians to leave his quarters in order not to embarrass his brothers, as it is written “then Yosef could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried ‘cause every man to go out from me’ (“וְלֹא-יָכֹל יוֹסֵף לְהִתְאַפֵּק,לְכֹל הַנִּצָּבִים עָלָיו, וַיִּקְרָא, הוֹצִיאוּ כָל-אִישׁ מֵעָלָי; וְלֹא-עָמַד אִישׁ אִתּוֹ, בְּהִתְוַדַּע יוֹסֵף אֶל-אֶחָיו”). No one was with Yosef when he made himself known unto his brothers, although he put himself in great danger by being alone with his brothers, who were by then extremely agitated and ready for war. His strong reliance on HaShem gave him the strength and trust that he would be protected while revealing the truth to his brothers. Yosef feared that this time they could panic and kill him since they never told Yaakov the truth for twenty-two years. The brothers did not even mention Yosef’s name when they gave Yaakov the “bloody garment” as a proof that Yosef was eaten by a wild beast. Yaakov understood the deep hatred the brothers had towards Yosef, not mentioning his name, even at his demise by a “beast”; Yaakov’s reaction was “Tarof Toraf”.

Yosef was getting ready to reveal himself, telling his brothers that he will show them their brother Yosef now. He started calling “Yosef, Yosef”. The brothers, puzzled, looked around for Yosef, who then revealed himself to them, crying and saying “I AM YOSEF, IS MY FATHER STILL ALIVE?” (“אֲנִי יוֹסֵף, הַעוֹד אָבִי חָי?”). When Yosef revealed himself he added his father into his statement; why? This comes to teach us that Yosef was reassuring his brothers that, despite being the ruler of Egypt and being exposed to their non-Jewish ways, he is still “I am the same Yosef; still your Jewish brother; the same one you sold to the Egyptians”. By saying “Is my father still alive”, Yosef was actually saying that he never left HaShem’s laws or his father’s ways. Now the brothers understood HaShem’s Divine greatness and the real purpose of the sale of Yosef. Yosef already knew that his father was alive, then why did he ask about him? This was the third time he asked about his father’s well-being. Yosef wanted to understand how come Yaakov could not see in his prophecy that Yosef was alive and in Egypt all these years. He also wanted to remind his brothers that just like Eisav, who would not harm Yaakov as long as his father was still alive, so too the brothers should not plan to harm him.

In this emotional moment of the brothers acclimating to Yosef’s being alive and being a king, the Torah writes (verse 45:3) that the brothers could not “look him in the eye” (“וְלֹא-יָכְלוּ אֶחָיו לַעֲנוֹת אֹתוֹ, כִּי נִבְהֲלוּ מִפָּנָיו”). This term comes to teach us that they were so ashamed that they looked down in embarrassment. It is worth noting here that Yosef, throughout this ordeal, covered his face with a veil, as it is customary among the Arab nations. The brothers also noticed that when Yosef revealed himself, they saw the face of Yaakov in him, as they looked alike. They were terrified, but Yosef assure them that he is the same brother they sold and that he will not reveal the story to their father. He urges them not to blame themselves, pointing out the outcome of HaShem’s will for him to be the king of Egypt. Yosef proclaims to his brothers that it was all done with divine intervention for good (“LeTova”).  He told them that from their actions good prevailed, “כִּי לְמִחְיָה, שְׁלָחַנִי אֱלֹהִים לִפְנֵיכֶם”, essentially saying to his brothers “do not be angry with yourselves, that you sold me; as HaShem did send me before you to preserve life”.

Yosef ordered his bothers to “get closer” to him and each other, in order to prevent them from blaming each other or fighting. The Midrash says that he showed them that he too was circumcised, as we see in the verse 45:4, “גְּשׁוּ-נָא אֵלַי, וַיִּגָּשׁוּ; וַיֹּאמֶר, אֲנִי יוֹסֵף אֲחִיכֶם”; the word “Elai” (“אֵלַי ” – very close to me) hints to him showing them his private part, his Brit-Milah. He also spoke to them in the holy Hebrew language, as he tried to eliminate their shame and fear. The brothers now understood that Yosef’s dreams were HaShem’s prophecy and felt relieved. In verse 45:18 we see the prophecy of things to come, as Yosef told his brothers “I will give you the best of Egypt”. The word “Tov” (“טוב” – best) has a numerical value of 17, to teach us a hidden message, about Yaakov’s passing that will occur in seventeen years and the beginning of their exile.

Yosef and Binyamin cry on each other’s necks but the Torah writes that Yosef cried on Binyamin’s “necks”… as if he had more than one neck. It comes to teach us that the Shechina (prophecy) rested on both of them, and they witnessed the prophecy of the destructions of both Bait HaMikdash as well as the Mishkan in Shilo. Yosef  then cried with his brothers too, but the Torah uses an extra word “ALEHEM” (“עלהם”), meaning he cried about them. This comes to teach us about the horrific prophecy Yosef just saw, and cried for; in this prophecy he saw the ten righteous Rabbis who, in the times of the Romans, will suffer horrendous deaths as a result of the sins of his ten brothers. These ten “Tzadikim” are called “עשרת הרוגי מלכות”, the ten righteous men who died, among them the famous Rabbi Akivah. The acronym of the word “ALEHEM” (“עלהם”) is:

The letter “ע” A’atidim – “עתידים”

The letter “ל” Lihiyot – “ליהיות”

The letter “ה” Harugei – “הרוגי”

The letter “מ” Malchut – ” “מלכות”

Pharaoh heard about Yosef’s brothers and his father Yaakov, and was extremely happy about it all. The reason Pharaoh was so excited about such news as the Torah writes “it was good in his eyes”, is that he was so pleased having Yosef in Egypt. Pharaoh was now thinking that he will be even more blessed to have eleven additions (like Yosef) plus the father, that this will be extremely profitable to him and Egypt. As Yosef made him very wealthy and Egypt prospered, he was hoping to multiply it by twelve with the arrival of the whole family. In his evil thoughts Pharaoh hoped to have Yaakov, his sons, and the entire family assimilated into his Egyptian society. He sent small empty carriages to bring them back with nothing else; none of their belongings, only themselves. These carriages were small and designed with all the Egyptian markings and designs. These were intended to send a message to Yaakov, not to bring with him any Torah or Jewish property, as Pharaoh said to him “we have all that you need here, do not bother with your god”.

The Midrash says that Yosef saw the carriages and destroys them all. Instead he sent huge empty carriages to bring Yaakov and his family to Egypt with their Torah and Jewish property, their animals and all their belongings; the reason was to maintain the integrity and unity of the family. Yosef’s empty carriages had all the Jewish markings and designs, alluding to HaShem’s existence in Egypt. He too sent a message to his father that he can keep his Judaism and be himself while in Egypt just as he has been for the past twenty-two years.

Find out more….

Yoram Dahan – Y’D Ha’Talmid – Author – Book Series – NESS HaTORAH
To learn more… Get my book @ 50% off… Visit:

Deja tu Comentario

A fin de garantizar un intercambio de opiniones respetuoso e interesante, se reserva el derecho a eliminar todos aquellos comentarios que puedan ser considerados difamatorios, vejatorios, insultantes, injuriantes o contrarios a las leyes a estas condiciones. Los comentarios no reflejan la opinión de, sino la de los internautas, y son ellos los únicos responsables de las opiniones vertidas. No se admitirán comentarios con contenido racista, sexista, homófobo, discriminatorio por identidad de género o que insulten a las personas por su nacionalidad, sexo, religión, edad o cualquier tipo de discapacidad física o mental.

El tamaño máximo de subida de archivos: 300 MB. Puedes subir: imagen, audio, vídeo, documento, hoja de cálculo, interactivo, texto, archivo, código, otra. Los enlaces a YouTube, Facebook, Twitter y otros servicios insertados en el texto del comentario se incrustarán automáticamente. Suelta el archivo aquí