Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Vayigash summary

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Yehuda pleads with Yosef that Binyamin be set free, and he remain as a slave in his place. Yosef is unable to control his emotions, and reveals himself to his brothers. He instructs them to bring Ya'akov and the remainder of the family down to Egypt, and that he will provide for them all during the famine. News spreads to the palace, and Pharaoh tells the brothers to bring Ya'akov and settle in the best land of Egypt. The brothers return to Ya'akov and tell him that Yosef is alive. His spirit was then revived. As Ya'akov heads towards Egypt G-d appears to him and blesses him. Ya'akov, his sons and grandchildren descend to Egypt along with all of their livestock and possessions.
The Torah lists all of Ya'akov's family who went to Egypt. They total 66 people (plus Yocheved who was born as they entered Egypt). Yosef and his two sons make 70. Ya'akov sends Yehuda ahead to make preparations in Goshen. Yosef goes to greet his father, and throws himself upon his shoulders weeping for a long time. He instructs his brothers as to what they should say when they meet Pharaoh. After meeting with them, Pharaoh instructs Yosef to settle them in Goshen, the best land in Egypt. Yosef brings Ya'akov and presents him to Pharaoh. Pharaoh asks him how old he is, and Ya'akov replies that he is 130, but his life has been hard. He then blesses Pharaoh.
The famine is very severe. Yosef collects money from all the people of Egypt and Canaan in payment for food. When their money is used up, Yosef instructs them to bring their livestock in exchange for food. The next year they are forced to sell their land and become serfs to Pharaoh. Yosef thus acquires all the farm land in Egypt for Pharaoh, and moves the people from one place to another. The only land that Yosef does not acquire is that belonging to the priests. Meanwhile the fledgling nation of Israel lives in Egypt. They buy property there and their population increases rapidly.

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