Vayigash – Shishi

Yehuda's Pretty Busy This Parsha!

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Yaakov sent Yehudah ahead to prepare things for their arrival in Goshen. Yoseif personally harnessed his horses to his chariot to go and greet his father. Yoseif hugged his father and wept, while Yaakov said, “Now I can die happy!”

Yoseif told his brothers that he would explain to Pharaoh that they are shepherds. This would reinforce their plan to stay in Goshen, an appropriate location for their vocation, since shepherds were taboo in Egypt proper. (The sheep was a sacred animal to the ancient Egyptians, perhaps protected the way the cow is in modern Hinduism. On the other hand, the Egyptians might have been glad that the Jews were shepherds, since they wouldn’t be competing in business.) When they met Pharaoh, they also told him that they were shepherds and, sure enough, he put them in Goshen.

Yoseif presented his father to Pharaoh and Yaakov blessed the monarch. Pharaoh asked the Patriarch how old he was and Yaakov told him, “I have lived 130 years. I have not lived as long as my fathers and, all things considered, my life has actually been pretty tough.”

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