This week we read Vayigash… and he approached. Yehudah is approaching Yosef, his long-lost brother, who is now unrecognizable, as he stands in the garments of governor of Egypt. The clothes can indeed make, and disguise, both the “man” and his intentions.
Over the course of Vayigash we read about the negotiations of the brothers and Yosef to ensure their family members will be fed. We read frequent references to the land the Israelites will inhabit – a gift from Pharaoh, the land of Goshen. Goshen will become a place of plenty after these years of famine. It will also be a place that is home, but not home. A displacement for years to come.
Vayigash, is based on the opening words, “Vayigash elav Yehuda.” The word Vayigash and the word ‘Goshen’ are from the same root, ‘gash,’ which implies relationship. As it says in Toldot as Yitzhak leans into Yaakov to draw close to him, to kiss him and to smell the fragrance of his garments…, ‘vayigash vayishak lo.” The relationship between brother, between father and son – all are leaning in, but not actually recognizing what the garments are actually hiding. And hidden, implied in the very name of Goshen, this place of plenty, is that all is not what it seems.
Finally, I am so sorry we were not able to hold our Hannukah party – snow, sleet, freezing rain and an uncleared parking lot, led to our decision to cancel. I particularly want to thank Carolyn Canny for so many hours she put into planning – and then cancelling this event. As Morris noted, “Man plans and God laughs, Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht!”
Much love to all,Rabbi Lynn