Miketz- Shared Reading
Torah Portions 1.10: Bereshith (Genesis) Chapters 41:1-44:17
Hebrew Word/Phrase of the Week: Miketz
Meaning: ‘The End Of’
This week’s Torah Portion is called Miketz (מקץ), and it means “the end of“. “And it came to be at the end of (Miketz) two years time, that Pharaoh had a dream..” Yahuseph (Yoseph) understood that dream interpretations belong to YHWH, and because of his dream interpretations and berikah (blessings) from YHWH, Yahuseph becomes a powerful man in Mitsrayim (Egypt) and later, encounters his brothers.
Chapter 41: Last week’s lesson, we left off with the cupbearer being restored back as the royal cupbearer, but he had forgotten about Yahuseph (Yoseph). Two years later, Pharaoh has a dream. In his dream, 7 beautiful looking fat cows come out of the river and fed among the reeds. After them, came 7 very skinny and unhealthy looking cows that ate the pretty 7 cows! But even after this, the ugly cows still looked skinny, as if they never ate anything. Then Pharaoh wakes up, but goes back to sleep again and has another dream. In this dream, there are 7 grain heads, nice and ready to be picked. But coming up after them were 7 heads of grain, very dry and unhealthy, that swallowed up the nice looking grain heads!
The dreams upset Pharaoh so much that in the morning he called for all the magicians and wise men of Mistrayim (Egypt). No one could interpret the dreams… Then, lo and behold, the cupbearer remembers Yahuseph and mentions him to Pharaoh, telling him of how Yahuseph interpreted his and the baker’s dream in prison, and it came true. Pharaoh sends for Yahuseph and they hurry to bring him out of the dungeon.
When Yahuseph appears before Pharaoh, Pharaoh says, “Now I myself have heard it said of you that you understand a dream, to interpret it”. Yahuseph answers, “It is not in me, let Elohim answer Pharaoh with peace (shalom)”. And so Pharaoh goes on to explain the dreams he had, and Yahuseph tells Pharaoh that the dreams mean there will be plenty of food in the land for 7 years, but that a very severe famine will follow. The famine will also last for 7 years and it will be so bad, that the people will not remember the plenty that came first.
He suggests to Pharaoh that during the 7 years of plenty, take one-fifth of all the crops and store the grain so that there will be food during the famine that is coming. Pharaoh puts Yahuseph in charge over all of Mitsrayim, so that there is no ruler more powerful there than Yahuseph other than Pharaoh, and Yahuseph sees to it that food is stored to prepare them.
Fun Fact: Yahuseph was 30 years old when he stood in front of Pharaoh. That means Yahuseph had been in Mistrayim for approximately 13 years now.
Pharaoh gives Yahuseph an Egyptian wife and he has two sons, Menashsheh and then Ephrayim. And so, the time for the scarcity of food comes, and all the earth came to Mitsrayim to buy grain, because the scarcity of food was severe in all the Earth.
Chapter 42: Now Ya’acob and his family were still in the Kena’an when the famine struck and Ya’acob sent his 10 sons to Mitsrayim to buy grain, keeping the youngest, BenYammin with him. Yahuseph is in charge of all the grain and is the Governor of the land, so when the brothers get there, they go to Yahuseph and bow down to him. They do not recognize Yahuseph, but he recognizes them and remembers his dreams from before.
Yahuseph treats them harshly and calls them spies. They tell him that they are not spies, but brothers from one man, and sends them all to the dungeon for 3 days. On the third day, Yahuseph tells them that if they will bring their younger brother back to him, then he will know that they are not spies. So Yahuseph lets them go, but keeps Shimon in the dungeon until they can come back. When they get home, they tell their father Ya’acob all that has happened, and that the silver they used to buy the grain was returned in their sacks! They were all afraid. Ya’acob tells them he will not let BenYammin go with them, since his brother is already gone and doesn’t want any harm happen to him.
Chapter 43: But the scarcity of food was too great. When all the grain they received from Mitsrayim was gone, they knew they had to go back and bring BenYammin with them. Ya’acob (Yash’rael) tells them if they go, they need to bring back double-silver in case it was a mistake, and to bring the best fruit of the land as a present, as well as a little balm, a little honey, spices, myrrh, nuts and almonds.
So the brothers and BenYammin arrive back in Mitsrayim and Yahuseph lets Shimon go, and he has a feast prepared for them at his house. The brothers are afraid when they find out they have to go to the Governor’s home. They give Yahuseph the gift their father Ya’acob told them to bring and they feast together.
Fun Fact: Yahuseph gives his brother BenYammin a portion of food 5 times larger than his brothers.
Chapter 44: Yahuseph tells his servant to fill their bags with food and to put his silver cup in BenYammin’s bag. As soon as morning comes, the men are sent away and they leave to go home. When they are out of the city, Yahuseph tells his servant to catch them. When Yahuseph’s servant catches them, he checks their bags for the silver cup and finds it in BenYammin’s bag. When they go back to Yahuseph’s home, they are told that BenYammin will stay as a slave and that the rest of them can go home.
To be continued next week!