Parshas Mikeitz-Summary of the Parsha

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Parshas Mikeitz

Pesukim: 146 [Siman: יחזקיהו]

Haftorah: Melachim 1 3:15-4:1

Number of Mitzvos:

There are no Positive or Negative commands mentioned in Parshas Mikeitz.



  1. Pharaohs dreams:
  • The first dream: After two years [of Yosef’s imprisonment], Pharaoh had a dream in which he saw himself standing by the Nile. He saw seven beautiful and healthy-looking cows, which were grazing in the land. Seven other cows came out after them, from the Nile. These cows looked very bad, and were thin. They stood next to the [other] seven cows, by the bank of the river. The seven bad and thin looking cows then proceeded to consume the seven good looking and fat cows. Pharaoh then awakened.
    • The second dream: Pharaoh fell back asleep and dreamt another dream. He saw seven healthy and good-looking ears of grain sprouting out from one stalk. He also saw seven thin and withered looking ears of grain, due to the east wind, grow after them. The seven thin looking ears of grain then proceeded to consume the seven healthy and fat looking ears of grain. Pharaoh then awakened, and the dream was [complete].
    • Pharaoh seeks an interpretation of the dream: In the morning, Pharaoh was disturbed, and he summoned all the sorcerers of Egypt and their sages to interpret the dream, and they were unable to do so for him.
    • The Sar Hamashkin [butler] suggests to Pharaoh to summon Yosef to interpret the dream: The chief butler spoke to Pharaoh and mentioned to him the sin that had once committed against the king and how he was thrown in prison. He told Pharaoh the entire encounter that occurred in the prison with his dreams, and the dreams of the head baker, and how Yosef accurately interpreted them. “There was a Hebrew lad in the prison, who was a slave to the chief butcher. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted our dreams. Just as he interpreted, so took place, as I was reinstated to my position, while the chief baker was hung.”
    • Pharaoh summons Yosef: Pharaoh sent messengers to summon Yosef. Yosef was removed from the pit. He received a haircut and changed his clothing, and then came to Pharaoh.



  1. Yosef’s interpretation:
    • Pharaoh tells his dreams to Yosef: Pharaoh told Yosef of his dream and how no one could interpret it properly, and he is thus asking him to interpret it, as he heard that Yosef knows to interpret dreams. Yosef replied that it is not he who can interpret dreams, but G-d. Pharaoh then retold the dream to Yosef in all its detail. He added that after seeing the thin unhealthy cows eat the healthy fat cows, their appearance remained the same, thin and unhealthy.
    • The interpretation: Yosef told Pharaoh that both dreams are in truth a single [message] from G-d, who is forewarning Pharaoh of the future occurrences. The seven good looking cows and ears of corn represent seven years, and it is all one dream. The seven bad looking cows and ears of corn are seven bad years of starvation and famine. Hashem is foretelling Pharaoh that the coming seven years will be years of enormous wealth of produce in all of Egypt. After those years there will be seven years of severe hunger, which will cause the seven years of plenty to be erased from memory. The famine will destroy the land. The reason the dreams were repeated, is because G-d is telling Pharaoh that these years will come speedily.
    • Yosef’s advice to Pharaoh: After interpreting the dream, Yosef then advised Pharaoh what should be done to deal with the years of famine. “Pharaoh should see to appoint a wise man over the land of Egypt, who will appoint officials over the land and prepare it during these seven years of plenty. All the food of the years of plenty are to be stored and guarded under the hand of Pharaoh, within the various cities. The food will serve as a reserve for the seven years of famine, in order so the earth not be destroyed in hunger.”
    • Pharaoh’s satisfaction with the interpretation and advice: The matter pleased Pharaoh and his servants, and he exclaimed to them “Is there any man as wise as him, who carries the spirit of G-d”



  1. Yosef is appointed viceroy:
    • Pharaoh told Yosef that since Hashem revealed to him all this information, there must be no one as wise as you, and therefore he is appointing him the viceroy. Every order will come through your hands, and only the kingship will I hold over you.
    • The inauguration of Yosef: Pharaoh removed his signet ring and placed it on the hand of Yosef. He garbed him in linen clothing and placed a golden chain around his neck. Yosef was taken for a ride in the king’s royal wagon and they proclaimed before him “Avreich, Kings advisor.” Pharaoh told Yosef that he is the king and without Yosef’s consent, no one can raise a hand and foot. Pharaoh called Yosef the name Tzafnas Paneach.
    • Yosef gets married: Pharaoh gave Yosef as a wife, a woman named Asnas, the daughter of the chief butcher. Yosef was 30 years old at the time that he became ruler. He went out from the audience with Pharaoh and visited the entire land of Egypt.
  1. The years of plenty:
    • In the seven years of plenty, the earth produced much grain. The excess grain was gathered from the fields and placed in the cities [in storage]. The grain was as plentiful as the sand of the sea and was uncountable.
  1. Yosef has children:
    • Yosef had two children with Asnas prior to the arrival of the years of famine.
    • The first son was named Menashe, after the fact that Hashem allowed Yosef to forget his suffering and the home of his father.
    • The second son was named Ephraim, over the fact that Hashem made him multiply in his land of suffering.



  1. The years of famine:
    • After the end of the seven years of plenty began the seven years of famine, as Yosef had said would occur. There was a famine in all the lands, although in Egypt there was plenty of bread.
    • The people of Egypt screamed to Pharaoh for bread and he sent them to Yosef, and instructed them to do as he commands. Yosef opened all his storehouses and sold grain to Egyptians. The famine was in all the lands of the earth and intensified in the land of Egypt.
    • People from all lands came to Egypt to buy food
  1. The brothers travel to Mitzrayim to buy produce:
    • Yaakov sends his sons to Mitzrayim: Yaakov saw that there is food in Egypt and told his children to travel there and buy food, so they live and not die. The brothers of Yosef did as they were instructed, and traveled to Egypt to buy food. Binyamin was not sent with them as he feared a tragedy may fall upon him.
    • The brothers meet Yosef the viceroy and are accused of espionage: The brothers of Yosef arrived in Egypt and came to buy grain amongst the other customers. Yosef was the ruler of the land and he was the one who sold the grain to all the people of the earth. The brothers came to Yosef and prostrated themselves on the ground before him. Yosef saw his brothers and recognized them, although they did not recognize him. He acted to them like a stranger and spoke to them harshly. He asked them “From where have you come?” and they replied from the land of Canaan to buy produce. Yosef then remembered his dreams and said to them “You are spies who have come to survey the land.” The brothers denied any such wrongdoing saying that they are all brothers, the son of one father, and are being honest. They are 12 brothers in total and the younger one has remained home, and one is missing. Yosef refused to accept their denial and continued to accuse them of being spies. He gave them an ultimatum to prove their innocence “Either bring me your younger brother, or I swear by Pharaoh’s life that you are spies.” One of you will go back to the land of Canaan to bring him, and the remainder of you will remain in prison. The brothers were imprisoned for three days. On the third day, he took them out and reinstructed them to go home and bring back their youngest brother.


  • Yosef said that one brother will remain imprisoned while the remainder can travel home and bring food for their families, and then bring back the youngest brother in order so they can prove their claim and not die. The brothers did as they were told.
  • The brothers bemoan what they did to Yosef: The brothers turned to each other and said “We are guilty over what we did to our brother, when we saw him pleading with us from his suffering, and we ignored him. This is why this suffering has come upon us.” Reuvein replied saying “Did I not tell you to not sin with the lad and you guys did not listen to me. Now, we are being held accountable for his blood.” They did not know that Yosef understood what they were saying, as he had the interpreter present. Yosef walked away from them and cried.
  • The brothers are sent off and Shimon is imprisoned: Yosef returned and placed Shimon in prison, in front of them. Yosef commanded that their bags be filled with food and their money should be replaced, each person in his bag. They should also be given food for the journey, and so was done.
  • The return journey: The brothers traveled with their bags on their donkeys, and during one of their rest stops, one of the brothers noticed that his money was returned to his bag. After he informed his brothers they were very frightened and exclaimed “What has G-d done to us?”
  1. The brothers return home to get Binyamin:
    • The brothers report back to Yaakov: The brothers arrived home and told their father Yaakov all that had occurred, and that the leader of the land spoke with them very harshly and accused them of being spies. “We denied the claims, saying that we are a family of 12 brothers, and the youngest has remained home, and the leader instructed us to prove our innocence by bringing our younger brother back with us.”
    • The brothers discover their moneys were returned: As each brother opened his sack they discovered that their bags of money were all returned.
    • Yaakov refuses to send Binyamin: Yaakov lamented, saying “You have orphaned me. Yosef is no longer, Shimon is no longer and now you want to take Binyamin. Reuvein offered to take responsibility of Binyamin, and that his two sons be put to death if he does not return him. Yaakov refused the offer, as his brother had a tragedy occur to him, and Binyamin is all he has left.
    • Yaakov runs out of food and is forced to send Binyamin: The famine was very severe, and when all the food that was brought from Egypt was consumed, Yaakov instructed his sons to return to Egypt and buy food. Yehuda told his father that the leader forewarned them that they will not receive an audience unless they bring their brother back with them. Yehuda gave his father an ultimatum: “If you agree to send our brother with us we will go and buy you food, otherwise we will not go.” Yisrael replied to them “Why did you cause me evil and tell the man that you have a brother.” The brothers replied that the man inquired about their family and we answered truthfully. “Could we have known that he would ask us to bring our brother down?” Yehuda spoke and told his father that he will be responsible for Binyamin’s return and if he does not bring him back, he will be held accountable for all his days. “Let us go and live and not die. If we had not delayed until now, we could have returned already twice.” Yisrael their father consented and instructed his sons to take from the products of the land as a gift to the leader. “Take some balsam, honey, wax, birthwort, pistachios, and almonds. Take with you a double sum of money, and bring with you the money’s that were returned to your bags. May Hashem grant you mercy before the man and he will release your other brother and send him with you, with Binyamin.
  1. The brothers travel with Binyamin to Mitzrayim and meet the viceroy:
    • The brothers did as they were instructed, and took with them the presents, the moneys, and Binyamin and appeared before Yosef.



  1. The brothers are invited for a meal in the house of Yosef:
  • After Yosef saw Binyamin and he told his home manager to invite the men for an afternoon meal. He did as he was told, and the men entered the home of Yosef.
  • The brothers fear accusation of robbery: The brothers feared that they are being brought to the home of the leader to be accused of stealing the money that was found in their sack, and be taken as slaves. They approached the manager of the home and spoke to him by the entrance, explaining to him that they had not stolen the money, and they had brought back with them the money found in their sacks, as well as other money’s. The manager told them not to worry, as their money was received, and G-d had placed them a treasure in their sacks.
  • The hospitality and greeting of Yosef: Shimon was then released to the brothers. The manager entered the men into the home and gave them water to wash their feet, and fodder for their donkeys. The brothers prepared the gift and waited for the return of Yosef in the afternoon. When Yosef returned they gave him the gift and bowed to him on the ground. Yosef asked them as to how their father is doing. They replied that their father is still alive, and bowed. Yosef raised his eyes and saw Binyamin, his brother, and asked them “Is this the younger brother that you told me about?” Yosef then said “May G-d be gracious to you.”



  • Yosef breaks down crying: Yosef was overcome with emotion of mercy for his brothers and went into a nearby room to cry. He washed his face and came out, restraining himself.
  • The meal: Yosef instructed for the meal to be served. Yosef and the Egyptians was served separately from his brothers, as they could not eat together with them, as doing so is viewed as an abomination in Egypt. Yosef had each brother seated in accordance to their age, and the brothers looked at each other with surprise. Yosef had a portion given to each one, although to Binyamin he gave a portion that was five times the size of the others. They all ate and drank together and became drunk.
  • The goblet of Yosef is planted in the sack of Binyamin: Yosef instructed his home manager to fill their sacks with food and return their money to their sacks. “My silver goblet should be planted in the sack of the youngest brother.” The man did as he was told. In the morning, the brothers were sent off. As soon as they exited the city, Yosef instructed his manager to give chase to them and accuse them of being ungrateful for having stolen his goblet. The manager did as he was told and accused them of stealing. The brothers vehemently denied the accusations, saying that they even returned the money that they found in their sacks, and hence why would they steal anything from the home of the leader. They concluded: “If you shall find the goblet in any of our sacks, that individual will be killed, and we will become slaves to your master.” The man however replied that only the individual whose sack contains the goblet will be held as a slave, while the remainder will be held free of accountability.
  • The goblet is found in the sack of Binyamin and the brothers return to Yosef: The brothers took down their sacks and opened them. The man searched the sacks, beginning with the eldest brother, and concluding with the youngest, and the goblet was found in the sack of Binyamin. They tore their clothing and replaced the sacks on their donkeys to return to the city. Yehuda and his brothers returned to the home of Yosef and fell to their faces. Yosef asked them how they could do such a thing and Yehuda replied that they have nothing to answer, as G-d has found sin with them. Yehuda offered that they all become slaves to Yosef. Yosef replied that it is beneath him to enslave everyone, and rather only the guilty brother will be held as a slave, while everyone else may return home to their father.

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