With eight crazy nights of Hanukkah officially behind us, I guess the only thing that’s left to say this week is Shabbat Shalom, friends!
On Saturday morning, minyanim across HaNegev will be reading from Parshat Vayigash. In these past couple weeks we’ve been following our man Joseph pretty carefully; we’ve seen him rise from the lowest of the low to one of Pharaoh’s most trusted men! Who would have thought the Jewish slave in Egypt would escalate this high on the social ladder in just a matter of weeks?!
Last week, Joseph decreed that his brother Benjamin be spared from death by being a slave in Egypt; this week, their brother Judah comes along to Joseph to demand Benjamin’s freedom and for Judah to take his place. Joseph reaches a breaking point – how can he just sell his brothers away so deceivingly? Boiling with emotional energy, Joseph comes clean to his brothers and reveals his true identity as their brother, not a prominent Egyptian. Joseph also goes further to assure his brothers not to apologize or worry about selling him into slavery not too long ago. Joseph, after a little reunion with some of his brothers, asks that his whole family come to Egypt to live with him. Their prosperous future together in Egypt is to be on Pharaoh’s dime while the rest of Egypt’s inhabitants endure a long famine. Quite the happy ending (with a dash of nepotism), no?
Comedian and fellow member of the tribe, Daniel Tosh has this funny thing on his show Tosh.0 called Web Redemption, where he finds super weird videos on the Internet and interviews the filmmaker so that they can somehow redeem themselves after their questionable creation. In Vayigash, we have what I’d like to a call a Bro Redemption, where Joseph forgives his brothers even though they did that questionable act of selling him into slavery… Though Joseph didn’t have the modern luxury (and lucky for his brothers that they don’t have them selling Joseph into slavery on tape! That also wouldn’t make the cut for America’s Funniest Home Videos, either..) of interviewing his brothers so that they could redeem themselves, I think we can all learn from how quickly Joseph granted is brothers redemption.
I hope y’all are all having a great start to December, and for those of you who I will see in just three weeks in the one and only New Orleans…hope you’re getting stoked and prepped for some #GevDomination!!!
HaNegev Regional Religion/Education Vice President 2013-2014