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)

In this portion, Tamar is promised to Judah’s oldest son, who dies before she can conceive. So Judah tries to get his second son, Onan, to hook up with big bro’s widow. As you might imagine, that was less than tempting for Onan. However, Onan’s refusal resulted in a rather permanent reprisal from God. Judah figured this was the ultimate in toxic in-laws, and so he tried to strike a deal – “Go live with... read more

Shabbat Vayishlach (Gen 32:4 – 36:43)

I love this part of the Torah. There is so much going on. In this portion, Jacob’s story continues. He wrestles with himself, with an angel, or with God. (maybe that should be “and” instead of “or”) He meets and reconciles with Esau (although there is a questionable “embrace”) during their reunion. And he is forced to finally deal with his only daughter, when she... read more

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