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Vayigash (and he drew near)

Genesis 44:18 to 47:27, Ezekiel 37:15-28


Notice in the narration's wording Ya'akov becomes Israel when he hears of Yosef's life and fortune.

Oddly, in verse 46:26 nefesh is singular.

Note Pharoah tells Yosef to not worry about having his family bring their possessions, but these are brought anyway. Fear of assimilation or idolatry?

Notice Yosef replaces his brothers' torn clothes. Binyamin gets 5 "suits" instead of one but the word chalifos is spelled differently (without the vav). The extra money for Binyamin might equal the value of the "stolen" cup, or at any rate is an official pardon for that extra accusation.

Ya'akov had grieved for Yosef for years. In verse 46:4, God assures Ya'akov that Yosef will outlive him. Ya'akov need not worry about loosing Yosef again.

Traditional Jewish Commentary

In verse 44:18 Yehuda says bi adoni which can mean both "please, my lord" or "in me, my lord". Yehudah is asking that the sin be considered in him for he is a guarantee (Hebrew avd'cha arav) for the boy. How messianic!

In verse 45:24 al tirgzu can mean either "do not fear" or "do not "quarrel".

Tradition claims Ya'akov never learns about Yosef's brothers' selling him and lying about it.

Perhaps "Ya'akov's spirit revived" in 45:27 refers to the gift of prophecy returning to him.

Why do the Egyptians ask for seed in verse 47:19 if they know there is still 5 more years of famine? Tradition says Ya'akov's blessing of 47:10 caused the Nile to begin to irrigate with small floods, year-round.

In verse 45:20 the word Yisrael has seven crowns on the letter s(h)in, not the normal three. Tradation says these are because Ya'akov had seven major troubles: Esav, Lavan, the angel, Dinah, Yosef, Shimon, and Binyamin.

In verses 46:26-27 it might appear 66+2=70! But neither Yosef nor his sons are included in the 70, for they were not "coming to Egypt". The extra 4 people that come to Egypt but are not "decendants" of Ya'akov are Ya'akov and his 3 surviving wives. So proposes Reisha Rav, HaGoan Rav Aaron Levine.

Rabeinu Bachye offers a unique explanation to explain the extra gift of three hundred sela'im that Yosef gave to Binyamin. The Gemara in Gitin obligaties someone selling a Hebrew as a slave to a gentile to pay as much as ten times the value to redeem the slave. Assuming that the value of a slave is 30 sela'im, Yosef forgave each of the brothers three hundred sela'im, by not claiming the penalty from them. Consequently, when he gave Binyamin, who did not wish Yosef sold as a slave, the same amount then he was giving him no less and no more than he gave to each of the other brothers.

In chapter 46 we read that Leah and Rachel each had double the grandchildren of their sisters/maidservants, Zilpoh and Bilhoh.

The Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos explains verse 47:8 by claiming Ya'akov's hardships had made him look much older than he was—so old his countenance startled Pharoah.