VAYIGASH (Genesis, 44:18-47:27) — “The Stimulus Package”

The Egyptian economy was a shambles.  Joseph rose to power by correctly interpreting the Pharaoh’s dream. (See “I Have a Dream”)  G-d sent seven years of plenty, to be followed by seven years of unprecedented famine.  Joseph advised to Pharaoh to put a wise man in charge of coordinating savings during the good years, so that Egypt would be able to survive during the bad years.  Joseph got the job. 

Joseph’s elevation worked out well for his father and brothers.  G-d had decreed that the Nation of Israel was to spend many years as slaves in Egypt, after which G-d would send Moses to lead us to freedom.  In order to be taken out of Egypt, first we would have to get there. 

Since there was no food in the land of Canaan, Jacob’s sons did their food shopping in Egypt.  As a result of the fact that their brother Joseph was already there, and in charge, they managed to survive the bad years under his royal patronage. 

Joseph saved more than his brothers.  He saved his country. 

There was no bread… Joseph gathered all the money that was to be found in the Land of Egypt… through the provisions that they purchased. Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s palace…and when the money was gone… all the Egyptians came to Joseph, saying, “give us bread…”   

So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them bread in return… 

They came to him in the next year and said…  “Nothing is left…acquire us and our land for bread; and we — with our land — will become slaves to Pharaoh.” 

Thus Joseph acquired all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for every Egyptian sold his field…and the land became Pharaoh’s… 

Joseph said, “Today I have acquired you with your land for Pharaoh…at the ingathering of the harvests you will give a fifth to Pharaoh…”

 …They said, “You have saved our lives.  May we find favor in your eyes, my lord, and we will be slaves to Pharaoh.”  (Exodus, 47:13-25)  

Pharaoh took over everything.  He now owned a 20% interest in every farm in Egypt.  And how did the Egyptians react to the news?  They welcomed it! —“We will be slaves to Pharaoh.” 










 … the beginning of slavery is a government bailout! 🙂  

Have a great Shabbos.

Rabbi Yerachmiel Seplowitz

To leave a comment about this article, or to read other readers’ comments on this article, scroll down past the archive links. 



“The Stimulus Package” (2009) 

… Pharaoh took over everything.  He now owned a 20% interest in every farm in Egypt.  And how did the Egyptians react to the news?  They welcomed it! …


Read more.


“What is a Jew?” (2003)  

Yehudi – Jew.  It is a word that appears relatively late in the Bible.  The Torah usually calls us Yisrael – Israel, or Ivrim – Hebrews… 

One reason we are now called Yehudim (plural of Yehudi) is that most people who identify as part of our Nation are descendants of the Tribe of Judah…

Not everything in Judah’s life was a source of pride…

What is a Yehudi – a Jew? 

I have three answers.  A Yehudi is a person who…

Read more.


“When GOOD Things Happen to Good People” (2002) 

… You haven’t seen your son in twenty-two years. You thought he was dead. The last twenty-two years of your life have been torture. Your years of torment are over. You have your son back. Couldn’t you wait a few minutes and find a better time to Daven?!… 

Read more.


“Chanukah Leftovers” (2001) 

… The smell of latkes is slowly dissipating from our homes.  The jelly donuts have left their stains on our shirts and their calories on our girths.  Another Chanukah has been consigned to our memories and photo albums.  Now what? 

It’s time to clean up our Menorahs.  (If we didn’t do it yet!)  We have to deal with our Chanukah surplus.  Not every millimeter of every candle has been melted.  Not every ounce of olive oil has been burnt.  What should we do with the leftover oil?  Salad dressing? Some popcorn, perhaps?  One final batch of latkes so the potatoes and oil don’t go to waste? … 

Read more.


“Staying ‘On the Wagon’ ” (2000) 

… Imagine for a moment Jacob’s intense grief and anguish. For twenty-two years he had been separated from his beloved son Joseph. As far as he knew, a wild animal had attacked Joseph, and all that remained of him was a torn and bloody robe. During this painful time, Jacob refused to allow himself to be consoled… 

Now, twenty-two years later, Joseph’s eleven brothers have returned from Egypt with wonderful news. Joseph has been found; he is alive and well. And, he has made it “big!” He is second only to the King of Egypt. He is rich, famous, and powerful. 

Jacob refuses to believe the story.  It just can’t be true.  Not after all these years!  Finally, however, the convincing proof presents itself… 

Read more.


This is the weekly message at Copyright © 2000-2012 by Rabbi Yerachmiel Seplowitz.  May be reprinted. Please include copyright information.


Rabbi Yerachmiel Seplowitz is a Mohel ( and chaplain in Monsey, New York. For information about scheduling a Bris or a lecture, or just to say hello, call (800) 83MOHEL.


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Published in: on December 23, 2009 at 1:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

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