Wednesday, December 28, 2005

TORAH STUDIES: Parshat Mikeitz


Kislev 27, 5766 * December 28, 2005


Parshat Mikeitz (Genesis 41:1-44:17)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Last week we read Parshat Vayeishev which ended with Yosef, the son of Yaakov Avinu, in an Egyptian prison. While there, Yosef correctly interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh's chief butler and baker. Yosef asked the butler to mention Yosef's plight to Pharaoh, but, as the Torah tells us, the butler forgot about the whole matter.

This week's Parshah, Mikeitz, takes place two years later, with Yosef still in prison. In the first aliyah Pharaoh has a disturbing dream, where seven fat cows are eaten by seven skinny cows, and then a second dream where seven fat ears of grain are eaten by seven skinny ears. None of Pharaoh's wise men could interpret the dreams to Pharaoh's satisfaction. Pharaoh wasn't satisfied because he had dreamt the proper interpretation with each dream, but when he awoke he forgot the interpretation. Nevertheless he could tell if he was being told the correct interpretation. In this setting Pharaoh's butler mentions that two years earlier Yosef did a perfect job of interpreting the butler's dream. So Pharaoh hastily gets Yosef out of prison to interpret Pharaoh's present dream.


In the second aliyah Pharaoh describes his dream to Yosef, and Yosef interprets the dream about the cows and the ears as one dream. The seven good cows and ears mean that seven years of plenty are coming to Egypt, while the seven skinny cows and ears means that seven years of famine will follow and befall Egypt. Yosef proposes a plan of putting away part of the produce of the good years to use during the years of famine. This greatly impresses Pharaoh.


In the third aliyah Pharaoh gives Yosef stupendous honor and appoints him head of all of Egypt, with the only exception being Pharaoh's throne. Thus Yosef is now second in command only to Pharaoh. Yosef is 30 years old at this point, and he marries Potifar's daughter Osnat. (Our sages tell us that actually this was an adopted daughter by Potifar. Osnat was really Yosef's niece - the daughter that Dinah had when she was raped by Shchem. This also explains why Potifar's wife made advances to Yosef as recorded earlier in the Torah. She acted so because she knew that she and Yosef would have common offspring, only she didn't know it would be from her [adopted] daughter and not her.) Yosef has two sons named Menashe and Ephraim.


In the fourth aliyah the famine predicted in Pharaoh's dream begins. It is a very grave famine affecting Egypt and many other countries. As planned, Yosef has sufficient stores of food and therefore Egypt has food to eat.

Meanwhile, Yosef's father Yaakov and his other eleven sons are in the land of Canaan. Although they are not suffering from the famine, nevertheless, Yaakov sends all his sons other than Binyamin down to Egypt to buy food. On the way, it is the brothers’ intention to look for Yosef, their lost brother, because they regret selling him. When the brothers get there, they have to go to their brother Yosef to request food, but they don't recognize him because he has grown up to be a man. The brothers bow down to Yosef, fulfilling Yosef's dream of his childhood.


In the previous aliyah and in this, the fifth aliyah, Yosef acts in a rough way to his brothers. While they're experiencing this they express regret about what they did to Yosef. Yosef accuses them of being spies, and holds Shimon hostage while sending the rest back to Canaan to fetch Binyamin. The reason Yosef keeps Shimon is to separate him from Levi. Together, they had defeated the whole city of Shechem earlier in the Torah. Yosef is trying to prevent that from happening again in Egypt.

When the brothers get back to their father Yaakov, he is upset at the thought of another son, Shimon, being missing, and the possibility of even another one, Binyamin being lost, so he hesitates for a long time to send them, but in the end, because of the famine, he does send him with them.


In the sixth aliyah, Yosef's brothers return to Egypt with Binyamin. They report to Yosef's palace where they are invited in to dine and are immediately reunited with their brother Shimon. In addition, Yosef sees Binyamin, his brother of the same mother, for the first in time 22 years.


At the end of the previous aliyah Yosef met his brother Binyamin, and in this, the seventh aliyah, the Torah says that Yosef immediately sought a place to weep. Rashi says that this happened because upon their meeting, Yosef asked Binyamin if he had any brothers from the same mother. Binyamin replied that he had one, but doesn't know where he is. Furthermore Binyamin said his ten sons are all named after things that happened to his brother Yosef.

All the brothers sit down to eat and drink, and Yosef gives Binyamin five times everyone else's portion. In the morning they all leave, but Yosef plans a way to cause yet one more bit of trouble for them and frames Binyamin with a false charge of robbery, and claims him as a servant.


Chanukah is here!

Our extensive Chanukah website has how-to’s, stories, lessons, games and even recipes! It's sure to make your holiday more meaningful and insightful! All this at:

Tip: Join a public menorah lighting or Chanukah event in your area too!

Send Chanukah Greeting Cards to friends and family:

New! Featured Chanukah Videos:

SEASONS: A Chanukah Thought:
MIRACLES: A Chanukah Film:
MIRACLE LIGHTS: An Animated Production:

Wishing you and your family a Happy Chanukah!


Copyright © 1996
Kehot Publication Society
770 Eastern Parkway / Brooklyn, New York 11213
(718) 774-4000 / FAX (718) 774-2718

Brought to you by

For more Parshah study, please visit:


** Enjoyed this email? Please help us continue sharing the
study of Torah and Jewish traditions:

Dedicate or sponsor an email to mark your special occasion!
Please click here:

Please click here to make a donation to

** To subscribe to more email lists please click here:

** To be removed from this email list please click here:,22,261645,0,217
If you would just like your email suspended and resumed at a later
date, please let us know here:

** You are subscribed as: If your e-mail address is changing
please send us your new email address here:

Part of the Chabad Online Network

A division of Chabad Lubavitch Media Center
770 Eastern Parkway * Brooklyn, NY * 11213


No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails