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Torah B’reishit  Genesis     Portion             Parshat Vayigash וַיִּגַּ֨שׁ   Chapter 45   The final story about Joseph and his brothers

Joseph was one of thirteen sons and daughters of Jacob and Rachel and Leah.  His story goes from degradation, as his brothers put him in a pit and send him off to a foreign land, to triumph when he  is rewarded for his power of dreaming and dream interpretation.  Second only to the all powerful Pharoah,  fully integrated into this new life, he creates a system of food storage during a famine so that people from near and far can seek refuge in Egypt.  His brothers are among those who make the journey, but they do not recognize him. . How could they?  He is dressed as a wealthy man, speaking in a foreign tongue.

The past few weeks’ readings have been about his elaborate scheme to fool his brothers. In this week’s story, he is about to reveal himself.

וְלֹֽא־יָכֹ֨ל יוֹסֵ֜ף לְהִתְאַפֵּ֗ק לְכֹ֤ל הַנִּצָּבִים֙ עָלָ֔יו וַיִּקְרָ֕א הוֹצִ֥יאוּ כׇל־אִ֖ישׁ מֵעָלָ֑י וְלֹא־עָ֤מַד אִישׁ֙ אִתּ֔וֹ בְּהִתְוַדַּ֥ע יוֹסֵ֖ף אֶל־אֶחָֽיו׃ 
Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone withdraw from me!” So, there was no one else about when Joseph made himself known to his brothers
וַיִּתֵּ֥ן אֶת־קֹל֖וֹ בִּבְכִ֑י וַיִּשְׁמְע֣וּ מִצְרַ֔יִם וַיִּשְׁמַ֖ע בֵּ֥ית פַּרְעֹֽה׃

His sobs were so loud that the Egyptians could hear, and so the news reached Pharaoh’s palace.
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The commentary: But the Egyptians could never understand the depth of his cries because after so many years of speaking in a foreign language, these were tears laden with the language of his ancestors

And Joseph cried
Tears of malachim /messengers and miracles
 Of ladders and angels 
stolen blessings and blessed stones
Of fathers and sins
mothers and sorrows
crashing idols and idyllic pastures

And Joseph cried:
Tears of wanderings and bargainings 
Of brothers and belated brit
Night wrestlings and wounded thighs 
Of snakes and doves
moons and wells
pairings on the ark and in the womb

And Joseph cried 
Tears of open tents and tattered coats
 Of caves and covenants 
 Power dreams and dreams of power
Of promises and prophecies
Famines and fortunes 
dove’s return and brothers’ reunions

And Joseph cried
Tears of hineni
Hineni, Brothers
Hineni
Bi Adoni
Adonai is within me
I am here

Let us weep together, bathed in the language of our ancestors 
In the holy tongue of 
The one God

December 31, 2022

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