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27 Kislev 5778

15th December 2017



Genesis 41:1-44:17


Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, was frustrated. He had had two dreams. In one, he saw seven fat cows swallowed by seven skinny cows; in the other, seven fat ears of grain were swallowed by seven thin ears. What did they mean?  He called all his advisers, but nobody could explain the meaning of the dreams. Then, the chief butler remembered Joseph!  He told Pharaoh that he had met a man in prison, who interpreted his and the chief baker's dreams exactly right. So Pharaoh sent messengers to prison and Joseph was brought before him.


Joseph listened and explained to Pharaoh that there would be seven years when there would be a lot of food for everybody to eat. This would be followed by seven years of hunger, when no food will grow. Joseph advised Pharaoh to organise storing food for the first seven years, so that there would be food to eat during the years of hunger. Pharaoh was so impressed by Joseph's interpretation and his advice that he made him prime minister of Egypt, in charge of the food in the whole country. Joseph then married Asenat and they had two sons, Mennaseh and Ephraim.


Joseph's interpretation came true and in the next seven years Egypt had plenty of extra food, which Joseph stored carefully. When famine began, in all the surrounding lands people were hungry, but in Egypt there was food for everyone.


In the Land of Canaan, Jacob and his sons were running out of food, because the famine was severe. Jacob sent them to Egypt to buy food, but he kept his youngest son Benjamin at home to keep him safe. So ten of Joseph's brothers arrived in Egypt and went to Joseph to try to buy some grain. Joseph recognised them immediately, but they had no idea he is their brother - as far as they were concerned, they were speaking to the prime minister of Egypt.


Joseph accused them of being spies: He said he would not believe they are innocent until they bring back Benjamin. The brothers talked to each other in Hebrew, not realising that Joseph could understand every word. They thought G-d may be punishing them for selling their brother Joseph into slavery long ago. Joseph was so overcome he had to leave the room before he burst into tears. The brothers went to Canaan for Benjamin, all except one. Joseph put Shimon in prison to ensure they came back.


In Canaan, Jacob refused to send Benjamin. He said, "It's not enough that Joseph and Shimon are gone? You want to also take Benjamin?" But then the food ran out and Judah promises to be responsible for Benjamin, so Jacob agrees to let them go.


This time, Joseph was very nice to them and invited them to a dinner at his palace. He told one of his servants to put his special silver goblet in Benjamin's bag. When the brothers were leaving the next day, Joseph sent his messenger after them. The brothers were shocked to be suspected of stealing. They said, "Why would we steal? Go ahead, search our bags, we have taken nothing." The servants found the goblet in Benjamin's bag. The brothers were shocked and horrified.


Joseph said that as punishment for the theft, he would take Benjamin as a slave. The brothers knew that they could not return without Benjamin. What could they do?


YR     Respect for kings and queens

Y1     Caring about each other

Y2     Being responsible for one another

Y3     Repentance (Teshuvah)

Y4     Respect

Y5     Acknowledging Hashem in our lives

Y6     Global responsibility (feed the world)



Parsha summary adapted from

The weekly mitzvot are adapted from the JCP Primary Parashat Hashavua Curriculum, and form the basis of the school's PSHE curriculum for all pupils.