Last week’s Portion ended in the midst of a crisis: Joseph’s missing cup had been discovered in Benjamin’s pack. This week’s Portion, VaYigash, picks up where we left off.
Judah passionately pleaded with Joseph to spare Benjamin’s life and take himself in place of Benjamin. We see a very different Judah here from the Judah of 20 years earlier – the one who wanted to sell Joseph because, after all, he was their brother. Joseph realized that it was time to reveal himself to his brothers. And we see a different Joseph from the Joseph of 20 years earlier: instead of accusations, Joseph attributed his “fortunes” to God.
He sends his brothers back to Canaan to gather their family (including Jacob) and all their belongings and move to Egypt. Pharaoh blessed Jacob by giving his family the land of Goshen, the very best land in Egypt.
And then the famine started. Joseph orchestrated the food distribution: he sold food to the Egyptians as they were able to pay. First with money, then with their possessions, and finally with their souls. Eventually, Pharaoh owned all the land of Egypt and all Egyptians became his slaves.