Shabbat Vayechi (Gen. 47:28-50:26)

The portion this week contains the closing verses for the book of Genesis/Bereshit. Jacob and his clan settle in Egypt and live there for 17 years, until Jacob feels that he is about to die. He calls all his children to him to give his final thoughts on them, their families and the future of the great nation he has started. Along the way, he offers to bless Manasseh and Ephraim – Joseph’s... read more

Shabbat Vayigash (Gen. 44:18-47:27)

In the portion this week, Joseph executes the plan to save both Egypt and the Jewish people. During the years of famine, people buy grain out of the stores into which they contributed until they have no more money. Then Joseph allows them to “buy” the grain by giving their land back to Pharaoh. By the end of the famine, all the land (except that owned by the Egyptian priests) is owned by... read more

Shabbat Mikaytz (Gen. 41:1-44:17)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (or the pyramid) Pharaoh has made Joseph the BJOC (big Jew on campus). Joe implements the first national yo-yo diet plan (feast/famine), and ends up assisting the Pharoah in a total land-grab as things get really really bad. And that’s when things start to get interesting. Because who should come calling but his long lost kin? But as usual, it’s all about the food.... read more

Shabbat Vayeshev (Gen 37:1 – 40:23)

Jacob settles in the land of Canaan and begins to dote on his son Joseph more than the rest of his children, including buying him a special ornamental tunic. The other boys don’t think this is exactly a bowl of cherries Worse still, Joseph begins telling of dreams he has where he is superior to all of them. This creates seeds of anger even in Jacob. While the other brothers plot to cut up Joseph and... read more

Shabbat Vayishlach (Gen 32:4 – 36:43)

Jacob prepares to meet his brother Esau after a 20 year separation. Remember that they didn’t leave on the best of terms (Jacob having stolen the blessing from Isaac), so Jacob is understandably anxious. He divides his family into 4 groups. On the surface, he’s splitting the family from least favored to most – the concubines Bilhah and Zilpah along with their children, then Leah and her... read more