Shabbat Commentary

Friday, December 29, 2006 |  by Michael Schneider
“VA’YIGASH – And then he (Judah) approached him” Genesis 44:18-47:27; Ezekiel 37:15-28

Our yearly Shabbat reading cycle of the 54 Shabbat readings has ended and we will now concentrate on some key points from the Torah portion that is read by Jews in the Synagogue on the Sabbath.


In our reading portion we finally reach the long awaited encounter in the Joseph story. Yes, a happy ending! Joseph makes himself known to his brothers! That’s how it will be with Yeshua, Messiah Ben-Yosef. Finally face to face! Hallelujah!

But before this could happen two things must take place. First “the last Benjamin” must return, and secondly, Judah has to change. The lesson must be learned toward Benjamin now, after his sinful behavior and the attitude towards the first by his father’s beloved son (Joseph). Judah now was ready to sacrifice his own life for the sake of his second beloved little brother Benjamin. “Now, therefore, please let your servant (Judah) remain instead of the lad (Benjamin) a slave to my lord (Joseph)…” (Genesis 44:33). What an attitude - full of submission and respect.

Now after those words of inner change were expressed, and particularly from the mouth of the head of the tribe of the royal house of Israel, the words that had so long been waited for were spoken: “Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried, ‘Have everyone go out from me.’ So there was no man with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. He wept so loudly… And they came closer. And he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.’” (Genesis 45:1-4) Believe me, Yeshua is even today weeping and almost “not controlling himself” and wanting so badly to make Himself known to His own!

Again it will happen after He “will send all out!” Yes, it will then be exclusively Joseph and his brothers. No dragoman anymore and no Egyptian “mask.” That’s how it also will be when Jesus return to the Mount of Olives when “the fullness of the Gentiles has come” Then “all Israel will be saved.” Exclusively to his brothers, to the Jews, and they “will look on Him whom they have pierced” (Zechariah 12:10).

Pearls of the Parasha by the Jewish sages:

“And Joseph told his brothers ‘I am Joseph’…” Until the moment from their coming to Egypt Joseph spoke harshly to them and was accusing them. They asked themselves why? But after those two words were spoken in Hebrew, “Ani Josef” – “I am Joseph,” all the astonishment and questions disappeared and melted in the wind. According to Chafetz Chaim, the same will take place when the world will hear those two words: “Ani Adonai” – YHVH! - “I am the LORD!” Then, at that time as well, all questions and wondering of how the world was ruled will vanish and “all flesh will know that the hand of God did all to our favor!!”

Then, what was told by Joseph to his frightened brothers: “Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life (like the first fruit)… God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance” (the great harvest). So we can see, all was a part of God’s salvation plan, yes, even the rejection by the Jews that is affirmed by Romans 11. “Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God;… God has made me lord of all...” (Genesis 45:8-9). That is again exactly who our Lord Yeshua was and is – Lord of the World!

Here we also find a good argument against all anti-Semitic false teaching that the Jews are to blame for their blindness and rejection and that’s why they have been rejected by God.

In Genesis chapter 46, Joseph’s father Jacob and his clan came up to Egypt, but before that while on his way in Bethel God promised Jacob: “I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again…” (verse 4) .

Our reading portion from the prophets (haftara) out of Ezekiel 37 speaks about the two sticks, one with the inscription “Judah” and one with the inscription “Joseph / Ephraim,” and they will reunite and hold His hand!” (Verses 15-20) could be shown as a picture of the Jews, the House of Israel, and the Body of the Messiah holding His mighty hand! - Michael Schneider –

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