Summary of Genesis: Chapters 38-50

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Parashat Vayeishev

Verses:112  [Siman: יבק]

Haftorah: Amos 2:6-3:8

Number of Mitzvot:

There are no Positive or Negative commands mentioned in Parashat Vayeishev.


Chapter 37

First Aliyah

  1. Joseph’s relationship with his father and brothers:
  • Jacob dwelled in the land of his fathers, in the land of Canaan.
  • The slander: Joseph was a lad of 17 years of age. He was a shepherd with his brothers and spent time with the children of the maids. Joseph gave bad reports of his brothers to his father Jacob.
  • Favoritism showed to Joseph: Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, as he was born in his old age. Jacob made for him a beautiful garment. The brothers saw that their father loved Joseph, and could not speak to him in peace.

  1. Joseph’s dreams:
  • Joseph had a dream, and he told his brothers, which led to them hating him even more.
  • The first dream: The following was his dream: We were all gathering stalks in the field and my stalk got up and all your stalks turned towards my stalk and bowed to it. The brothers responded to the dream “Will you reign and rule over us,” and they continued to hate him.
  • The second dream: Joseph had a second dream and he told it to his brothers. “I saw the sun, moon and eleven stars bowing to me.” Joseph told the story to his father and brothers, and his father rebuked him saying “Do you really believe that I, your mother and your brothers will bow to you.”
  • The brothers were envious of Joseph, however, his father preserved the matter in his memory.


Second Aliyah

  1. Joseph travels to visit his brothers in Shechem
    • Joseph is sent to Shechem: The brothers of Joseph went to graze the sheep in Shechem. Jacob asked Joseph to visit his brothers in Shechem, and see as to their wellbeing, and the wellbeing of the sheep, and report back to him. Joseph was sent from the valley of Hebron and arrived in Shechem.
    • Joseph searches for his brothers: A man found Joseph wondering in the field and asked him as to what he is looking for. Joseph replied that he is looking for his brothers “Please tell me where they are grazing the flock.” The man replied: They traveled from here as I heard them say “Let us go to Doson.” Joseph went searching for his brothers, and found them in Doson.

  1. The plot to kill Joseph:
    • The brothers saw Joseph from a distance, and prior to his arrival, plotted to kill him. They told each other “Look, the dreamer is coming. Let us kill him and throw him in one of the pits. We will tell [our father] that a wild animal ate him.” We will then see what will be with his dreams.
    • Reuben’s plan to save the lad: Reuben heard of the plot and disguised a plan to save Joseph, and return him to their father. He told them “Let us not smite his soul and murder him. Instead, place him in the pit that is in the desert, and we will not raise a hand on him.”

Third Aliyah

  1. Joseph is placed in the pit and then sold and brought to Egypt:
    • When Joseph arrived to his brothers, they removed his garments, as well as the Ketonet Hapatim, and they took him and threw him in the pit. The pit did not have water, it was empty.
    • The sale to the Ishmaelites: The brothers sat to eat, and they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilad. The camels were carrying cloves and other good spices, and they were traveling towards Egypt. Judah told his brothers “What gain do we have from killing our brother and covering his blood? Lets sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let our hands not harm him, as he is our brother, part of our flesh.” The brothers consented.
    • The sale to the Midianites: A caravan of Midianites passed, and they took Joseph out from the pit and sold him to the Ishmaelites for 20 silver coins. Joseph was brought to Egypt.
    • Reuben returns to the pit: Reuben returned to the pit and saw that it was empty. He tore his clothing and exclaimed to his brothers “The child is not there, and how can I face [my father Jacob].”

  1. Jacob is told of Joseph’s death:
    • The brothers took Joseph’s garment and dipped it in the blood of a goat. The garment was then sent to their father Jacob, asking him to identify the garment of his son. Jacob recognized the garment and said that a wild animal must have eaten him. Joseph has been devoured. Jacob tore his clothing and placed on sackcloth. He mourned for his son many days.
    • Comforting Jacob: All his sons and daughters tried to comfort him, but Jacob refused to be comforted. He said, “I will descend to my grave while still mourning my son.” Jacob cried over this a lot.

  1. Joseph is sold to Potiphar:
  • The Midianites sold Joseph to the Egyptians, to Potiphar the head butcher of Pharaoh.


Chapter 38

Fourth Aliyah

  1. Judah moves away, gets married and has children:
    • At that time, Judah descended from amongst his brothers, and arrived to an Adulami man, whose name was Hira.
    • The marriage: Judah saw there the daughter of a Canaanite man called Shua. He took the daughter and married her.
    • The children: She became pregnant and had a son, who was named Er. She again conceived and had a son who was named Onan. She again conceived and had a son who was named Shailah. She was in Keziv when she had him.

  1. The marriage of Judah’s sons to Tamar, and their eventual death:
    • Er marries Tamar and dies: Judah took a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. Er performed evil in the eyes of G-d, and G-d therefore put him to death.
    • Onan marries Tamar and dies: Judah told Onan to be intimate with the wife of his brother, and enter into levirate marriage with her, and establish offspring for his brother. Onan knew that the child would not be considered his. Therefore, each time he was intimate with his brother’s wife, he would destroy [his seed by spilling it] onto the earth, in order not to give offspring to his brother. What he did was evil in the eyes of G-d, and He put also him to death.
    • Tamar returns home: Judah told Tamar, his daughter in-law, to stay in the home of her father until Shailah is old enough [to marry her]. Judah said this because he feared for the life of Shailah. Tamar did as she was told.

  1. Judah is intimate with Tamar:
    • After the passing of many days, the wife of Judah, the daughter of Shua, passed away. Judah was comforted, and traveled with his friend Hirah to graze the flock in Timna.
    • Tamar dresses like a harlot: Tamar was informed that her father in-law is traveling to Timna to graze the sheep. She removed her widow garments and covered herself with a veil. She sat at the crossroads leading to Timna, being that she saw that Shailah had already grown up and she was still not given to him as a wife. Judah saw her and mistook her for a harlot, being that her face was covered.
    • The negotiations and agreements: Judah came towards her and asked if he could be intimate with her, as he did not know that she was his daughter in-law. She asked him “What will you give me,” and he replied that he will send her a young goat from amongst his sheep. She replied that she will only accept his offer if he gives her something as collateral until he brings her the goat. He asked what collateral she wanted, and she asked to be given his signet ring, jacket, and staff. He gave it to her and was intimate with her and she became pregnant from him.
    • Tamar returned home, removed her veil, and put back on her widow garments
    • Judah tries to find the harlot: Judah sent the young goat with his friend to bring to the harlot and receive his collateral back, although she could not be found. They asked the townspeople as to the whereabouts of the harlot who sat by the crossroads and they replied that they know nothing of a harlot in that location. The friend told Judah that she could not be found, and Judah replied that she should keep what she was given, as they tried to find her and if they continue searching, the matter will become publicized and humiliate them.


  1. A pregnant Tamar is almost burnt at the stake:
    • Three months later Judah is informed that his daughter in-law Tamar is pregnant due to a promiscuous relationship. Judah ordered that she be burned to death.
    • Judah confesses and saves her from death: As she was being brought to be burnt she sent her father in-law the items which he gave her, and told him “I am pregnant from the man whom these items belong to, please recognize them.” Judah recognized the items and responded that she be vindicated of any wrong doing being that he refused to give her to Shailah as a wife, and she is pregnant from him.
    • Judah discontinued being intimate with her.

  1. Tamar gives birth to twins:
  • Tamar gave birth to twins.
  • When she gave birth, one of the children stuck out his hand. The midwife took it and tied a red string onto it, as a sign that he came out first.
  • After he returned his hand, his brother came out. The [midwife] exclaimed “Why have you burst forth” and he was named Peretz.
  • Afterwards, his brother, which had the red string on his hand, was born and he was named Zarah.

Chapter 39

Fifth Aliyah

  1. Joseph in Egypt;
    • Potiphar, the head butcher of Pharaoh, had purchased Joseph from the Ishmaelites who brought him there.
    • G-d blesses the home of Potiphar: G-d was with Joseph, and Joseph was successful while at the home of his master the Egyptian. His master noticed his success and that G-d is with him. As a result, Joseph found favor in his eyes, and was placed in charge of everything in the home. After Joseph was appointed in charge of the estate, and all of his assets, G-d blessed the house of the Egyptian due to Joseph, and blessing was found in everything in the home and field. Joseph was placed in charge of everything, aside for the bread which he eats. Joseph had a beautiful figure and appearance.


Sixth Aliyah

  1. Potiphar’s wife attempts to lie with Joseph:
  • After the above events, the wife of Potiphar placed her eyes on Joseph and asked him to lay with her. He refused, stating that his master has trusted him with everything in the home, and has given him everything except for her. How then can he do such a great evil and sin towards G-d. She tried daily to convince Joseph to be with her, although he refused.
  • One day, Joseph came home and there was no one home. The wife grabbed Joseph by his coat, commanding him to lie with her. Joseph slipped out of his coat, leaving it with her, and fled outside. When she saw that Joseph left his coat with her, she screamed for help of her household, saying that the Jewish boy attempted to lie with her. “When I screamed, he left his coat with me and ran away.” She remained with the coat until his master returned home. She told him that Joseph attempted to lie with her, and when she screamed he ran away, and left his coat.

  1. Joseph is imprisoned:
  • Joseph’s master imprisoned him. G-d was with Joseph in the prison and he found favor in the eyes of the warden.
  • The warden appointed Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners, and he would direct their activities. The warden trusted him as G-d was with him.

Chapter 40

Seventh Aliyah

  1. The chamberlain of the cupbearers [i.e. butler] and the chamberlain of the bakers:
    • The imprisonment: After the above events, the head butler and baker sinned to their master, the king of Egypt. An angry Pharaoh had them imprisoned, in the same prison that Joseph was located.
    • The head butcher placed Joseph in charge of attending to them. They remained in prison for many days.
    • The dreams: One evening, the two ministers, the butler and baker, had a dream. Each person dreamt the interpretation of the dream. In the morning, Joseph saw that the two men were very perplexed. He asked them as to what is the matter? They told him of their dreams. Joseph said that the interpretations of dreams belongs to G-d, “Please tell me your dreams.”
    • The dream of the chamberlain of the cupbearers: The chamberlain of the cupbearers told Joseph his dream. He said that he dreamt of seeing a vine in front of him, and the vine contained three clusters of freshly ripe grapes. I saw myself squeezing the grapes into the cup of Pharaoh and placing the cup into the hand of Pharaoh. Joseph replied that the interpretations of the dream is as follows: The three clusters represent three days, as in three days Pharaoh will reinstate you to your position as the chief butler, and you will once again serve him wine as you did in the past.
    • Joseph then asked the butler to mention him before Pharaoh, to have him removed from the prison, as he has done nothing wrong.
    • The dream of the baker: The baker saw that the interpretation was good, and he too told Joseph of his dream. He told Joseph that he dreamt of seeing three baskets on his head. In the top basket there was all the baked goods eaten by Pharaoh, and the birds were eating from it. Joseph replied that the three baskets represent three days, as in another three days Pharaoh will have you hung, and the birds will eat your flesh.
    • Pharaoh’s birthday party: So, it was that on the third day it was the birthday of Pharaoh and he made a great feast for all his servants. He remembers the ministers, the butler and baker. The butler was reinstated to his position and he placed the cup in Pharaohs hand, while the baker was hung, as Joseph interpreted.
    • The butler forgot to mention Joseph before Pharaoh.

Parashat Mikeitz

Verses: 146 [Siman: יחזקיהו]

Haftorah: Kings 1 3:15-4:1

Number of Mitzvot:

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


Chapter 41

First Aliyah

  1. Pharaohs dreams:
  • The first dream: After two years [of Joseph’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 chamberlain of the cupbearers [butler] suggests to Pharaoh to summon Joseph 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 Joseph 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 Joseph: Pharaoh sent messengers to summon Joseph. Joseph was removed from the pit. He received a haircut and changed his clothing, and then came to Pharaoh.

Second Aliyah

  1. Joseph’s interpretation:
    • Pharaoh tells his dreams to Joseph: Pharaoh told Joseph of his dream and how no one could interpret it properly, and he is thus asking him to interpret it, as he heard that Joseph knows to interpret dreams. Joseph replied that it is not he who can interpret dreams, but G-d. Pharaoh then retold the dream to Joseph 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: Joseph 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. G-d 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.
    • Joseph’s advice to Pharaoh: After interpreting the dream, Joseph 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”


Third Aliyah

  1. Joseph is appointed viceroy:
    • Pharaoh told Joseph that since G-d 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 Joseph: Pharaoh removed his signet ring and placed it on the hand of Joseph. He garbed him in linen clothing and placed a golden chain around his neck. Joseph was taken for a ride in the king’s royal wagon and they proclaimed before him “Avreikh, Kings advisor.” Pharaoh told Joseph that he is the king and without Joseph’s consent, no one can raise a hand and foot. Pharaoh called Joseph the name Tzafnas Paneach.
    • Joseph gets married: Pharaoh gave Joseph as a wife, a woman named Asnas, the daughter of the chief butcher. Joseph 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. Joseph has children:
    • Joseph had two children with Asnas prior to the arrival of the years of famine.
    • The first son was named Manasseh, after the fact that G-d allowed Joseph to forget his suffering and the home of his father.
    • The second son was named Ephraim, over the fact that G-d made him multiply in his land of suffering.


Fourth Aliyah

  1. The years of famine:
    • After the end of the seven years of plenty began the seven years of famine, as Joseph 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 Joseph, and instructed them to do as he commands. Joseph 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

Chapter 42

  1. The brothers travel to Egypt to buy produce:
    • Jacob sends his sons to Egypt: Jacob 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 Joseph did as they were instructed, and traveled to Egypt to buy food. Benjamin was not sent with them as he feared a tragedy may fall upon him.
    • The brothers meet Joseph the viceroy and are accused of espionage: The brothers of Joseph arrived in Egypt and came to buy grain amongst the other customers. Joseph 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 Joseph and prostrated themselves on the ground before him. Joseph 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. Joseph 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. Joseph 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 re-instructed them to go home and bring back their youngest brother.

Fifth Aliyah

  • Joseph 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 Joseph: 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.” Reuben 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 Joseph understood what they were saying, as he had the interpreter present. Joseph walked away from them and cried.
  • The brothers are sent off and Simeon is imprisoned: Joseph returned and placed Simeon in prison, in front of them. Joseph 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 Benjamin:
    • The brothers report back to Jacob: The brothers arrived home and told their father Jacob 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.
    • Jacob refuses to send Benjamin: Jacob lamented, saying “You have orphaned me. Joseph is no longer, Simeon is no longer and now you want to take Benjamin. Reuben offered to take responsibility of Benjamin, and that his two sons be put to death if he does not return him. Jacob refused the offer, as his brother had a tragedy occur to him, and Benjamin is all he has left.

Chapter 43

  • Jacob runs out of food and is forced to send Benjamin: The famine was very severe, and when all the food that was brought from Egypt was consumed, Jacob instructed his sons to return to Egypt and buy food. Judah told his father that the leader forewarned them that they will not receive an audience unless they bring their brother back with them. Judah 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.” Israel 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?” Judah spoke and told his father that he will be responsible for Benjamin’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.” Israel 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 G-d grant you mercy before the man and he will release your other brother and send him with you, with Benjamin.

  1. The brothers travel with Benjamin to Egypt and meet the viceroy:
    • The brothers did as they were instructed, and took with them the presents, the moneys, and Benjamin and appeared before Joseph.


Sixth Aliyah

  1. The brothers are invited for a meal in the house of Joseph:
  • After Joseph saw Benjamin 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 Joseph.
  • 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 Joseph: Simeon 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 Joseph in the afternoon. When Joseph returned they gave him the gift and bowed to him on the ground. Joseph asked them as to how their father is doing. They replied that their father is still alive, and bowed. Joseph raised his eyes and saw Benjamin, his brother, and asked them “Is this the younger brother that you told me about?” Joseph then said, “May G-d be gracious to you.”


Seventh Aliyah

  • Joseph breaks down crying: Joseph 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: Joseph instructed for the meal to be served. Joseph 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. Joseph had each brother seated in accordance to their age, and the brothers looked at each other with surprise. Joseph had a portion given to each one, although to Benjamin he gave a portion that was five times the size of the others. They all ate and drank together and became drunk.

Chapter 44

  • The goblet of Joseph is planted in the sack of Benjamin: Joseph 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, Joseph 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 Benjamin and the brothers return to Joseph: 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 Benjamin. They tore their clothing and replaced the sacks on their donkeys to return to the city. Judah and his brothers returned to the home of Joseph and fell to their faces. Joseph asked them how they could do such a thing and Judah replied that they have nothing to answer, as G-d has found sin with them. Judah offered that they all become slaves to Joseph. Joseph 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.


Parashat Vayigash

Verses: 106  [Siman: יהללאל]

Haftorah: Ezekiel 37:15-28

Number of Mitzvot:

There are no Positive or Negative commands mentioned in Parashat Vayigash.


First Aliyah

  1. Judah contends with Joseph to release Benjamin:
    • Judah confronted Joseph and asked to speak, saying that he is like Pharaoh. Judah recounted before Joseph the chain of events, of how he was asked to provide information about his family.
    • He stated that their youngest brother was home, and Joseph then requested that he be brought before him. They implored before Joseph not to do so, as it could cause the premature death of Jacob. “You replied that we will not be able to see you again until we do so.”
    • “When we came to our rather and recounted what you asked, our father refused to send our youngest brother, due to fear that tragedy may befall him on the way. If we now return without Benjamin [this could have tragic consequences on Jacob’s health as] his soul is interconnected with his [i.e. Benjamin’s] soul.”


Second Aliyah

  • When Jacob will see that Benjamin did not return, he will die.”
  • “I have become a personal guarantor for the return of my brother, let me then sit as a slave in place of my brother, and let the lad return back home with his brothers. How can I return without my brother and witness the evil that will befall my father?”

Chapter 45

  1. Joseph reveals himself to the brothers:
    • Joseph could no longer hold himself back and he asked everyone [except for his brothers] to leave his presence, so he could reveal himself to his brothers.
    • Joseph cried and the news was heard in the Egypt and in the house of Pharaoh.
    • Joseph told his brothers “I am Joseph, is my father still alive?” The brothers could not answer him, due to shock. Joseph requested the brothers come forward and repeated and said “I am Joseph your brother who you sold to the Egyptians. Now, do not be saddened or angry that you sold me here, as G-d sent me here to provide food. There has thus far been two years of famine, and another five years remain. G-d sent me here to support you and give you food.”

Third Aliyah

  • “It is not you who sent me here, but G-d, in order to become ruler of Egypt.”

  1. Joseph instructs his brothers and asks them to bring their father to Egypt:
    • The proposition: Joseph told his brothers to hurry and go back to father and tell him that his son Joseph has become ruler of all Egypt, and that he should come to him. “You will be given the settlement of Goshen to live. You will be close to me, as well as your children and grandchildren, and cattle. I will support you for the remaining five years of famine, lest you all starve.” Joseph then turned to his brothers and said “Your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is I who speaks to you. Go tell father of all the honor I have in Egypt, and go and hurry to bring father down here.”
    • The embracing of Joseph and his brothers: Joseph fell on the neck of Benjamin, and he cried, and Benjamin cried on his shoulder. Joseph kissed each one of his brothers and cried on them, and then the brothers spoke to him.
    • Pharaoh instructs Joseph to instruct the brothers/father: The house of Pharaoh heard of the arrival of Joseph’s brothers, and it found favor in his eyes and the eyes of his servants. Pharaoh instructed Joseph to tell his brothers to take back their loaded donkeys and return to the land of Canaan. “Go bring your father, and household, and I will provide you the best of Egypt, and you will eat the fat of the land.”

Fourth Aliyah (according to most Chumashim)

  • “Take from Egypt wagons for your children and wives, and carry back your father. Don’t worry of leaving your items, as the best of the land of Egypt is yours.”
  • The brothers listened to the instructions.
    • The presents: Joseph gave the brothers wagons as Pharaoh instructed, and he gave them food for the journey. Everyone received clothing. Benjamin received five pairs of clothing and 300 silver coins. To his father, Joseph sent ten donkeys carrying the best of Egypt. Ten mules carrying bread and food for his father for the journey.
    • The message: The brothers went off on their journey, with a parting message from Joseph, telling them not to quarrel on the journey.

  1. Jacob is informed that Joseph is alive:
    • The brothers left Egypt and arrived by Jacob their father.
    • They told him that Joseph is alive, and he is ruler of Egypt. Jacob did not believe them. They told him all the words of Joseph, and Jacob saw the wagons that Joseph sent from Egypt to carry him, and Jacob’s spirit was revived.

Fourth Aliyah (according to Torah Temima/Chabad) Fifth Aliyah (according to most Chumashim)

 Israel said, “My son Joseph is still alive, I will go see him before I die.”

Chapter 46

  1. Jacob and family travel to Egypt:
    • Arrival to Beer Sheva: Israel and all his family traveled and arrived to Beer Sheva.
    • Sacrifices: In Beer Sheva, Jacob offered sacrifices to the G-d of his father Isaac.
    • G-dly revelation: G-d appeared to Israel at night and said “Jacob, Jacob” and Jacob replied, “Here I am.” G-d said “I am the G-d of your father. Do not fear to enter Egypt, as I will make you into a great nation there. I will descend with you to Egypt, and I will take you out. Joseph will place his hands on your eyes.”
    • Jacob traveled from Beer Sheva with all his family, his sons and daughters, and grandchildren, and was brought in the wagons, by his sons, to Egypt.
    • They traveled with all their cattle and belongings.


Fifth Aliyah (according to Torah Temima/Chabad)

  1. Jacobs family who arrived in Egypt:
  • The following are the children and grandchildren who traveled with Jacob to Egypt:
  1. The firstborn is Reuben. The following are his sons:
    • Hanoch
    • Palu
    • Hetzron
    • Carmi
  2. Simeon had the following sons:
    • Yemuail
    • Yamin
    • Ohad
    • Yahin
    • Tzohar
    • Shaul the son of the Canaanite Woman (Dinah).
  3. Levi had the following sons:
    • Gershon
    • Kehas
    • Merari
  4. Judah had the following sons:
    • Er, who deceased in the land of Canaan.
    • Onan, who deceased in the land of Canaan.
    • Shailah
    • Peretz and his children
      • Hetzron
      • Hamul
    • Zarah
  5. Issachar had the following sons:
    • Tola
    • Puvah
    • Yov
    • Shimron
  6. Zebulun had the following sons:
    • Sered
    • Ailon
    • Yahle’ail
  • The above were the sons of Leah, in addition to Dina his daughter, for a total of 33 people.

  1. Gad had the following sons:
    • Tzifyon
    • Chagi
    • Shuni
    • Etzbon
    • Airi
    • Arodi
    • Areli
  2. Asher had the following sons:
    • Yimnah
    • Yishvah
    • Yishvi
    • Briyah and his children
      • Hever
      • Malkiel
    • Serach their sister
  • The above were the sons of Zilpa, who Laban gave to Leah his daughter, for a total of 16 people.
  • Rachel, the wife of Jacob, had Joseph and Benjamin.
  1. Joseph had the following sons in Egypt with his wife, Asnas Bas Poti Fera:
    • Manasseh
    • Ephraim
  2. Benjamin had the following sons:
    • Bela
    • Becher
    • Ashbail
    • Gaira
    • Naaman
    • Aichi
    • Rosh
    • Mupim
    • Hupim
    • Ard
  • The above were the sons of Rachel, for a total of 14 people.
  1. Dan had the following sons:
    • Hushim
  2. Naftalai had the following sons:
    • Yachtzeail
    • Guniy
    • Yaitzer
    • Shilaim
  • The above were the sons of Bilah, who Laban gave to Rachel his daughter, for a total of 7 people.
  • The total number of descendants: The total amount of descendants who came with Jacob to Egypt, aside for the wives of his sons, is 66. Joseph had two sons in Egypt, making it a total of 70.

Sixth Aliyah

  1. Jacob’s arrival to Egypt:
    • Sending Judah to Goshen: Jacob sent Judah ahead of him to direct him to Goshen.
    • Joseph meets his father: Joseph harnessed his wagon and went to meet his father in Goshen. He met with him and fell on his neck and wept. Jacob said to Joseph “I can die now, after seeing your face, as you are still alive.”

Chapter 47

  • The brothers meet Pharaoh and settle in Goshen: Joseph told his brothers and father that he will inform Pharaoh of their arrival from the land of Canaan. “The people are shepherds, and they brought with them all their cattle.” Joseph told his brothers “When Pharaoh summons you, and asks of your occupation, tell him that you have always been shepherds, in order so you will be settled in Goshen, as shepherds are an abomination in Egypt.” Joseph came and told Pharaoh of his father’s and brother’s arrival, and settled in Goshen. Joseph took with him five of his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh. Pharaoh asked the brothers as to what they do, and they replied that they have always been shepherds. They asked Pharaoh permission to settle in the land of Goshen, as they have come with a lot of cattle and require grazing land. Pharaoh replied to Joseph that they could settle wherever they desire, and they could settle in Goshen, and if they are capable, you [i.e. Joseph] should appoint them managers of my livestock.
  • Jacob meets Pharaoh: Joseph presented Jacob to Pharaoh and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. Pharaoh asked Jacob as to his age, and he replied that he is 130 years old. They have been few and filled with suffering.

Seventh Aliyah

  1. Jacob and his family settle in Egypt:
    • Joseph gave his father and brothers land in Rameses, as Pharaoh instructed, and he supported them with food.


  1. Joseph provides food for the nation:
    • There was no food in the world, and Egypt and Canaan became weary due to hunger.
    • Money is used to purchase food: Joseph gathered all the money in Egypt and Canaan, as a result of their food purchases. The money was brought to the house of Joseph.
    • Cattle is used to purchase food: After the money ran out in Egypt and Canaan, all the people of Egypt approached Joseph and asked him for food, lest they die. Joseph then told them to trade their cattle in exchange for food. So, the Egyptians gave Joseph their horses, sheep, cows, and donkeys in exchange for food.
    • Land and people are traded in for food: After the first year of famine, the Egyptians implored Joseph to buy them as slaves, and buy their lands, in exchange for food. Joseph thus proceeded to purchase the entire land of Egypt for Pharaoh. The only land that was not purchased is the land of the priests, who were provided food by Pharaoh.
    • The people are moved around Egypt: Joseph moved the people from their native towns to the ends of Egypt.
    • Joseph distributes seeds for planting: Joseph distributed seeds to the people for them to plant and grow food in the lands. The people were instructed to give 20% to Pharaoh, and the remaining 80% they could keep for themselves.
    • Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in Goshen and multiplied.


Parashat Vayechi

Verses: 85 [Siman: פה אל פה]

Haftorah: Kings 1 2:1-12

Number of Mitzvot:

There are no Positive or Negative commands mentioned in Parashat Vayechi.

First Aliyah

  1. Jacob summons Joseph and requests to be buried in Israel:
  • The length of Jacob’s years: Jacob lived in Egypt for 17 years, and he lived for a total of 147 years.
  • As his days of passing were approaching, Jacob summoned his son Joseph and asked him to place his hand under his thigh and “Perform for me kindness and truth, and do not bury me in Egypt. Please carry me out of Egypt and bury me by my forefathers.” Joseph replied that he will do as requested.

Chapter 48

  1. Joseph brings his sons to his father, and is blessed:
  • After the above occurrence, Joseph was told that his father is sick, and he brought to him his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Jacob was informed that his son Joseph was arriving, and he strengthened himself to sit on the bed.
  • Ephraim and Manasseh are recognized as tribes: Jacob told his son Joseph that G-d appeared to him in Luz and blessed him that he will have many offspring. “Now, you should know, your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, are to me considered like Reuben and Simeon. However, any children born after them will be part of their tribal name.”
  • Jacob retells the story of Rachel’s death: “When I traveled from Padan Aram, Rachel died on the journey, on the way to Efrat. I buried her there on the road to Efrat, which is Bethlehem.”

  1. Jacob blesses Ephraim and Manasseh:
  • Jacob then looked at the sons of Joseph and asked, “Who are they?” Joseph replied to his father that they are his sons whom G-d has blessed him with. Jacob asked for the sons to be brought to him, to be blessed.


Second Aliyah

  • Jacob’s eyes were getting old and as a result he could not see. The sons of Joseph were brought to Jacob, and he kissed them and hugged them. Jacob remarked “I had not even dreamed of seeing you and now I see your children.” Joseph removed the children from Jacob’s knees and prostrated to the ground.
  • Jacob switches his hands: Joseph brought both sons, and positioned Ephraim to his right, to the left of Israel, and Manasseh to his left, to the right of Israel. Israel placed his right hand on the head of Ephraim and his right hand on the head of Manasseh. He moved his hand with intelligence, as Manasseh was the firstborn.
  • The blessing: Jacob blessed Joseph and said “The G-d who has been with me and my forefathers, the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, he should bless the children and they should be called by my name and the name of my forefathers, Abraham and Isaac. They shall multiply on earth like fish.”


Third Aliyah

  • Joseph attempts to realign the hands of his father: When Joseph saw that his father placed right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him, and he went forward to remove his father’s right hand from the head of Ephraim and place it on the head of Manasseh. Joseph said to his father that it is incorrect, as Manasseh is the firstborn, and he deserves the right hand on his head. Jacob refused, and told his son “I know my son that he too will become a nation, however his younger brother will be greater than him, and will multiply amongst the nations.”
  • The blessing: Jacob blessed the children that day, saying that the Jewish people will bless [their children] by saying “Let G-d place you like Ephraim and like Manasseh” and he said Ephraim before Manasseh.
  • Israel told Joseph “I will die, and G-d will be with you, and return you the land of your forefathers. I am giving you Shechem, one portion more than your brothers, of which I took from the hand of the Amorites.”

Chapter 49

Fourth Aliyah

  1. Jacob’s final message to his children:
  • What will occur in the end of days: Jacob summoned his sons and asked them to assemble so they can be told what will occur in the end of days.
  • Reuven’s final message from his father: “Reuben, you are my first born. You are the first of my strength and vigor, and fit to be greater than all [your other brothers]. However, you were haste like water and caused your father’s bed to be defiled by interfering with your father’s bed. You will not be privileged to take more [than your other brothers].”
  • Simeon and Levi’s final message from their father: “Simeon and Levi, brothers, who use stolen tools as weapons. Do not let my name be mentioned with their schemes, and in their congregation my honor will not take part. With their wrath they killed man, and in their wishes, they uprooted an ox. Let their wrath be cursed, as it is mighty. I will scatter them amongst Israel.”
  • Judah’s final message from his father: “Judah, your brothers will acknowledge you. Your hand will be at the neck of your enemies, and your fathers’ sons will prostate themselves to you. Judah, you are a lion’s cub who ascended from prey. You crouch like a lion and who can lift you. The rod shall not depart from Judah, nor legislators from between his feet, until the arrival of Shilo. To him the nations will assemble. He ties the male donkey to the vine and the female donkey to the branch. He launders his clothing in wine and his robe in the blood of grapes. His eyes become red from the wine, and his teeth white from milk.”
  • Zebulun’s final message from his father: “Zebulun, you shall dwell by the shores of the sea, and at the harbor of ships, until Tzidon.”
  • Issachar’s final message from his father: “Issachar, you are a strong donkey resting between the city borders. He sees that his portion is good, and a land that is fertile. He will bend his shoulder to bear and will pay his dues by serving.”
  • Dan’s final message from his father: “Dan will seek justice for his nation and the tribes of Israel will be as one. Dan will be a serpent on the road and a viper on the path that bites the heels of a horse and causes its rider to fall. For your salvation I await, G-d.”

Fifth Aliyah

  • Gad’s final message from his father: “A battalion will sprout from Gad and he will troop backwards.”
  • Asher’s final message from his father: “From Asher will come rich food and he will provide royal delicacies of a king.”
  • Naftali’s final message from his father: “Naftali is a gazelle who runs quickly, for whom people give thanks and blessing.”
  • Joseph’s final message from his father: “Joseph is a charming son, a charm to the eye. Girls stepped up to see him. They embittered him, fought with him, and the archers hated him. Nonetheless, he remained steadfast and became a shepherd, providing for Israel. G-d will help you and bless you with the blessing of heavens and blessings of the depths below. Let the blessings of my father be upon your head.”

Sixth Aliyah

  • Benjamin’s final message from his father: “Benjamin is a wolf who kills his prey. In the morning he eats his spoils, and in the evening he distributes it.”
  • All these are the tribes of Israel, 12 in number, and he blessed them, each according to his blessing.


  1. Jacob’s instructs to be buried in Cave of Machpelah:
  • Jacob instructed his sons that after he passes away, he is to be buried in the Cave of Machpeila. This refers to the cave found in the field of Ephron the Hittite, which was bought by Abraham from Ephron. “My ancestors are buried there. Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried there. Isaac and his wife Rebecca were buried there, and there I buried Leah.”

  1. Jacob passes away:
  • After Jacob completed instructing his sons he placed his feet together on the bed and passed away.

Chapter 50

  • Joseph fell on his father’s face and cried on him and kissed him.
  • The embalming: Joseph commanded his servants, the doctors, to embalm his father, and they did so.
  • The mourning: After forty days of the embalming, the Egyptians mourned his passing for [a total of] seventy days.

  1. Jacob is buried in Israel:
  • Asking permission: After the mourning period, Joseph asked the house of Pharaoh for permission to fulfill his oath to his father, to bury him in the land of Canaan. Pharaoh agreed.
  • The funeral procession: Joseph went to bury his father, and all the servants of Pharaoh came with him, and the elders of Egypt. All his and his father’s households, his brothers, came with him, and only the children and cattle remained in Goshen. It was a very large procession of people who came.
  • The eulogy and mourning: When they arrived to Goren Haatad a great and heavy eulogy took place and they mourned Jacob for seven days. The Canaanite nations took notice of the great funeral procession, and the mourning, and therefore name this place, Avel Egypt.
  • The burial: The children of Jacob did as they were instructed and buried him in the Cave of Machpelah.


  1. Joseph and his brothers make peace with what they did to him:
  • After the burial, Joseph, his brothers, and the entire funeral procession returned to Egypt.
  • The brothers feared that now that their father has passed on, Joseph will hate them and take revenge against them for what they did. They thus connivingly told Joseph that prior to Jacob’s death he told them to tell Joseph to forgive his brothers. When Joseph heard this, he began to cry. His brothers also cried, and they threw themselves before him offering themselves as slaves. Joseph assured them saying that he is not in the place of G-d, and that G-d set up his kidnapping for the sake of him rising to his position to provide food for the people.

Seventh Aliyah

  • Joseph then promised the brothers not to fear, as he will provide them and their families with food. Joseph comforted them.


  1. Joseph passes away:
    • His years: Joseph lived a total of 110 years. He saw three generations from his son Ephraim. The sons of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were raised on Joseph’s knees.
    • Joseph’s final message to his brothers: Joseph told his brothers that he will die, and that G-d will remember them and take them out of Egypt to the land that was promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Joseph made the brothers swear that when they leave Egypt they will take his bones with them.
    • Joseph passed away at the age of 110. He was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.

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