|Questions and Concepts for Parsha Va'yigash
1. In verse 18 we see Judah informing Joseph that he is "like Pharaoh." Though this seems like a great compliment, it is also possible that Judah was giving Joseph a warning. Just as the Pharaoh was punished for taking and detaining Sarah, so might Joseph "be like him" if he kept Benjamin.
2. Why did Joseph not contact his father Jacob prior to this time? Being both "righteous" and in a position of great power (in charge of Egypt's economy), why did he delay? The answer is found in the Oral Torah which says that the brothers had bound themselves and God with an oath against revealing to Jacob that Joseph was alive. However, why would God allow Himself to be "bound" by such an oath? Because if Jacob were to hear that Joseph was a slave in Egypt, he would certainly have gone there to redeem him. This would have prevented the ensuing captivity in Egypt from occuring - something God Himself foretold to Abraham:
Genesis 15:13 - Then He said to Abram: "Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.
3. An additional aspect to this scenario involves the fulfillment of Joseph's dream of his brothers bowing to him. That which has been determined to occur in the heavenly realm, must take place at some time in the physical. (i.e., The "Lamb slain at the foundation of the world" came into the physical realm within time to die.)
4. The overarching lesson of the parsha and of all that happens to any of us is spoken by Joseph in 45:5:
What had been perceived as "bad" by Joseph, Jacob (and to at least some of his brothers at some point), was all "for the good."
As we are told:
5. There is another lessson to be found in 45:8:
The hard lesson in the above verse is that if God chooses you for something, He will have His way whether you are ready, willing and able - or not.
As one modern rabbi has written about this:
6. Two things that we are told in the "New Testament" are;
The Hebraic context of these two ideas is found in the 18th century text, Kol Hator ("The Voice of the Turtledove," - the latter term being a name for Messiah as found in Song of Solomon 2:12). This very mystical work was written by Rabbi Hillel Shklover, the grand-nephew and disciple of the famous Gaon of Vilna.
The following is from a section of Kol Hator listing 156 aspects of Messiah ben Joseph:
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