Vayigash in a Nutshell Genesis 44:18–47:27
Judah approaches Joseph to plead for the release of Benjamin, offering himself as a slave to the Egyptian ruler in Benjamin’s stead. Upon witnessing his brothers’ loyaltyto one another, Joseph reveals his identityto them. “I am Joseph,” he declares. “Is my father still alive?”
The brothers are overcome by shame and remorse, but Joseph comforts them. “It was not you who sent me here,” he says to them, “but G‑d. It has all been ordained from Above to save us, and the entire region, from famine.”
The brothers rush back to Canaan with the news. Jacob comes to Egypt with his sons and their families—seventy souls in all—and is reunited with his beloved son after 22 years. On his way to Egypt he receives the divine promise: “Fear not to go down to Egypt; for I will there make of you a great nation. I will go down with you into Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again.”
Joseph gathers the wealth of Egypt by selling food and seed during the famine. Pharaoh gives Jacob’s family the fertile county of Goshen to settle, and the children of Israel prosper in their Egyptian exile.
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But Jacob did not embrace Joseph and did not kiss him; our sages tell us that he was reading the Shema.
Why did Jacob choose that particular moment to read the Shema? Because he knew that never in his life would his love be aroused as it was at that moment of reunion with his most beloved son after twenty-two years of anguish and loss. So he chose to utilize this tremendous welling of emotion to serve His Creator, channeling it to fuel his love for G-d.
(The Chassidic Masters)