Parshas Mikeitz

Parshas Mikeitz – Pharaoh has a two-part dream about seven scrawny cows devouring seven robust cows, followed by seven thin stalks of grain swallowing seven healthy, good ones. When his advisers are unable to adequately interpret the dream, Pharaoh summons Joseph, who had been in prison for a total of twelve years.

Ascribing his power of interpretation solely to G-d, Joseph tells Pharaoh that Egypt will first experience seven years of abundant crops, and then will be ravaged by a devastating famine. Pharaoh appoints Joseph as viceroy of Egypt, making him the second most powerful man in the land (this is a source for the sport of tennis in the Torah — we see that Joseph … served in Pharaoh’s court).

Joseph’s wife Asnat gives birth to two sons, Menashe and Ephraim, and the years of plenty and famine unfold just as Joseph had predicted. With the famine devastating the land of Canaan (Israel), Joseph’s brothers descend to Egypt to purchase food. When they don’t recognize their royal brother, Joseph sets in motion a plan to determine if the brothers have fully repented for their sin of selling him almost twenty-two years before.

Joseph acts detached, accusing them of being spies, and holds Simeon hostage. Joseph then allows the rest of the brothers to go with food to their father on the condition that they return with their youngest brother Benjamin. With great reluctance, Jacob agrees to this condition. Mikeitz concludes with the looming threat that Benjamin will be made a slave to the Egyptian ruler.

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