11 Vayigash

וַיִּגַּשׁ אֵלָיו יְהוּדָה וַיֹּאמֶר בִּ֣י אֲדֹנִי יְדַבֶּר־נָא עַבְדְּךָ֤ דָבָר בְּאָזְנֵ֣י אֲדֹנִ֔י וְאַל־יִחַר אַפְּךָ בְּעַבְדֶּךָ כִּי כָמוֹךָ כְּפַרְעֹֽה׃

Then Judah came near to him and said: “O my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my lord’s hearing, and do not let your anger burn against your servant; for you are even like Pharaoh.





Brit Chadasha

December 31 2022

“And he approach”



Luke 5:9-16


11 vayigash

Although we know how it ends, this week’s Torah reading can be, by turns, anxiety-provoking, cathartic, and unsettling. We know a reconciliation between the brothers will take place, but we don’t fully understand how. We know a peace deal will be reached, but we suspect that, like all new agreements, its character will be tenuous, fragile, and ad hoc, its consensus constructed atop a minefield of lingering resentments and fundamentally conflicting narratives. Reconciliation comes with recognition and disclosure for healing to happen between the brothers. A man in Egyptian clothing, who has achieved the rank of royalty, takes off his masks, peels away his persona of success and refers to himself as “your brother, the one whom you sold.”

In this week’s Parasha, Jacob reunites with his beloved son, Joseph, after 22 years of separation during which Jacob believed that Joseph was dead. Their emotional reunion is described in this passage: Joseph ordered his chariot and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel [Jacob]; he presented himself to him and, embracing him around the neck, he wept on his neck a good while. Then Israel [Jacob] said to Joseph, “Now I can die, having seen for myself that you are still alive.” (Gen. 46: 29–30) Joseph holds not just the economic upper hand, but has the advantage of more information, as well. He knows the identity of his brothers, while they are in the dark. The moment in which the brothers reconcile can only happen when Joseph makes known who he is. Note that Joseph demonstrates to his brothers that his essence has not changed, ultimately, it is he who enables to establish connection with his brothers, to forgive them, and to seek harmony and relationship with them.