Joseph Reunites With His Brothers
From the end
In this week’s Torah portion we are looking at Genesis 41:1–44:17
Joseph’s imprisonment finally ends when Pharaoh dreams of seven fat cows that are swallowed up by seven lean cows, and of seven fat ears of grain swallowed by seven lean ears.
Joseph interprets the dreams to mean that seven years of plenty will be followed by seven years of hunger, and advises Pharaoh to store grain during the plentiful years.
Pharaoh appoints Joseph governor of Egypt.
Joseph marries Asenath, daughter of Potiphar, and they have two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
Famine spreads throughout the region, and food can be obtained only in Egypt.
Ten of Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt to purchase grain; the youngest, Benjamin, stays home, for Jacob fears for his safety. Joseph recognises his brothers, but they do not recognize him; he accuses them of being spies, insists that they bring Benjamin to prove that they are who they say they are, and imprisons Simeon as a hostage.
Later, they discover that the money they paid for their provisions has been mysteriously returned to them.
Jacob agrees to send Benjamin only after Judah assumes personal and eternal responsibility for him.
This time Joseph receives them kindly, releases Simeon, and invites them to an eventful dinner at his home. But then he plants his silver goblet in Benjamin’s sack.
When the brothers set out for home the next morning, they are pursued, searched, and arrested when the goblet is discovered. Joseph offers to set them free and retain only Benjamin as his slave.
Map of Ephraim and Judah
Burning the Fats of a Blemished Animal on the Altar
“Nor shall you make a fire offering of them”—Leviticus 22:22.
It is forbidden to burn the fats of an animal with a permanent blemish on the altar.
Sacrificing Animals with Temporary Blemishes
“You shall not sacrifice to G‑d, your G‑d, any ox or sheep in which there is a blemish”—Deuteronomy 17:1.
It is forbidden to offer as a sacrifice an animal with a temporary blemish.
Sacrificing Blemished Animals Presented by Non-Jew
“And from a foreigner’s hand you may not offer the bread of your G‑d from any of these”—Leviticus 22:25.
It is forbidden to offer as a sacrifice an animal with a blemish that is presented by a non-Jew.
Causing a Blemish in an Animal that was Designated for Sacrifice
“No blemish shall be in it”—Leviticus 22:21.
It is forbidden to cause a blemish to an animal designated for sacrifice [making it unfit for sacrificial use].
Redeeming a Blemished Offering
“However, as per your every desire, you may slaughter and eat meat in all your cities, according to the blessing of G‑d, your G‑d”—Deuteronomy 12:15.
We are commanded to “redeem” any animal consecrated for sacrificial use. The animal is then relieved of its holiness and may be eaten. [The redemption money is used to purchase a new animal for sacrifice.]
Minimum Age for Animal Sacrifices
“It shall remain under its mother for seven days, and from the eighth day onwards, it shall be accepted as a sacrifice”—Leviticus 22:27.
When bringing an animal sacrifice, we are commanded to bring animals that are in the eighth day of their lives and onwards.
Sacrificing an Animal that has been Obtained through a Disrespectful Exchange
“You shall not bring the hire of a harlot or the price of a dog”—Deuteronomy 23:19.
It is forbidden to bring as a sacrifice an animal that was given to a harlot as payment for services or an animal acquired in exchange for a dog.
Offering Honey or Leaven on the Altar
“With all your offerings you shall offer salt”—Leviticus 2:13.
We are commanded to offer a salt accompaniment together with every sacrifice.
Offering Salt with Every Sacrifice
“For you shall not cause to [go up in] smoke any leavening or any honey, [as] a fire offering to G‑d”—Leviticus 2:11.
It is forbidden to offer on the altar any honey or leavened item.
Offering a Saltless Sacrifice
“Neither shall you omit salt, the covenant of your G‑d”—Leviticus 2:13.
It is forbidden to offer any sacrifice – whether animal or of meal – without an accompaniment of salt.
Procedure of the Burnt Offering
“When a man from [among] you brings a sacrifice to G‑d . . . If his sacrifice is a burnt offering from cattle…”—Leviticus 1:2-3.
When offering an Olah (completely burnt) sacrifice – whether it’s a communal sacrifice or a personal offering – we are commanded to follow the applicable procedure outlined in the Torah.
Partaking of the Burnt Offering
“You may not eat within your gates…the vows which you vow”—Deuteronomy 12:17.
It is forbidden to partake of the flesh of the Olah (burnt) sacrifice—whether before its blood was sprinkled on the altar or afterward, whether in the Holy Temple or outside of it.
This prohibition includes deriving benefit from any of the holy properties [aside for those which the Torah permits].
Procedure of the Sin Offering
“This is the law of the sin-offering…”—Leviticus 6:18.
When offering a Chatat (sin) offering, we are commanded to follow the applicable procedure outlined in the Torah—regarding its slaughter and the parts of the animal that are burnt on the altar and the parts that are consumed [by the priests].
Eating from Sacrifices whose Blood was Sprinkled in the Sanctuary
“And any sin offering whose blood is brought into the Tent of Meeting, to make atonement in the holy place, shall not be eaten; it shall be burnt in fire”—Leviticus 6:23.
It is forbidden for a priest to consume of the flesh of any Sin Offering whose blood was sprinkled in the sanctuary.
Decapitating the Fowl Sin Offering
“He shall pinch off its head opposite its nape, but shall not separate”—Leviticus 5:8.
In the course of melikah [the “slaughtering” of bird sacrifices, done with the priest’s fingernail], it is forbidden for the priest to totally remove the bird’s head from its body.
Procedure of the Guilt Offering
“This is the law of the guilt-offering”—Leviticus 7:1.
When offering an Asham (guilt) offering, we are commanded to follow the applicable procedure outlined in the Torah—regarding its offering and the parts of the animal that are burnt on the altar and the parts that are consumed [by the priests].
Consumption of the Sacrificial Flesh
“And they shall eat [the sacrifices] with which atonement was made”—Exodus 29:33.
The kohanim (priests) are commanded to eat the flesh of the sacrifices. This includes the flesh of the Sin and Guilt offerings—for which the priests’ consumption actually effects the desired atonement—as well as all the other sacrifices and even the Terumah tithe.
There are two types of sacrifices: the “holy of holies” and the “holy.” [Examples of the “holy of holies” are the Sin and Guilt Offerings. Examples of the “holy” are the Peace Offering and the Firstborn.] The former class of sacrifices must be eaten by male priests only, on the day when the sacrifice was offered or the night that follows. The latter class can be eaten by priests and their wives and children, until the nightfall of the day following the offering of the sacrifice (with the exception of the Thanksgiving Offering and the Nazirite Ram, which though they are of the “holy” class, they share the more stringent time restriction of the “holy of holies”).
Consuming Offerings outside their Prescribed Boundary
“You may not eat within your gates…”—Deuteronomy 12:17.
It is forbidden – even for a priest – to consume of the flesh of a Sin or Guilt Offering outside the Temple Courtyard. Similarly, it is forbidden for anyone to consume of the flesh of other sacrifices outside the walls of Jerusalem.
A Non-Priest Partaking of the Holiest Sacrifices
“But a stranger shall not eat of them because they are holy”—Exodus 29:33.
A non-priest may not eat of the “Holy of Holies” sacrifices (e.g., the flesh of the Sin Offering).
Procedure of the Peace Offering
“And if his offering be a sacrifice of a peace-offering…”—Leviticus 3:1.
When offering a Shelamim (peace) offering, we are commanded to follow the applicable procedure outlined in the Torah.
Consuming Offerings before their Blood is Sprinkled on the Altar
“You may not eat within your gates …your freewill offerings”—Deuteronomy 12:17.
It is forbidden to eat of the flesh of sacrifices – of the “holy” class; e.g., the Peace or Thanksgiving Offerings – before their blood is sprinkled on the altar.
Procedure of the Meal Offerings
“And if a person brings a meal offering to G‑d . . . and if a meal offering on a pan is your sacrifice . . . and if a meal offering [made] in a deep pot”—Leviticus 2:1, 5, 7.
When offering a Minchah (meal) offering – any of the different varieties of meal offerings detailed in the Torah – we are commanded to follow the applicable procedure outlined in the Torah.
Putting Oil on a Meal Sin Offering
“He shall put no oil upon it”—Leviticus 5:11.
It is forbidden to mix oil into a meal Sin Offering [as is done by almost all other meal offerings].
Putting Frankincense on a Meal Sin Offering
“Neither shall he put any frankincense upon it”—Leviticus 5:11.
It is forbidden to mix frankincense into a meal Sin Offering [as is done by almost all other meal offerings].
Consuming the Priest’s Meal Offering
“And every meal offering of the priest shall be totally burnt; it may not be eaten”—Leviticus 6:16.
It is forbidden to consume of a priest’s Meal Offering. This prohibition also includes partaking of the daily Chavitin (meal) offering brought by the high priest.
Baking the Remainder of a Meal Offering as Leaven
“It shall not be baked leavened. It is their portion; I have given it to them of My fire offerings “—Leviticus 6:10.
It is forbidden to bake the remainder of the Meal Offerings [i.e., the part of the offering not offered on the altar, to which the priests are entitled] as leaven.
Consumption of the Meal Offerings
“And the remainder of it, Aaron and his sons shall eat as unleavened bread”—Leviticus 6:9.
The kohanim (priests) are commanded to eat the remainder (i.e. the part that has not been offered on the altar) of the meal offerings.
This mitzvah is restricted to male kohanim.
Fulfilling Sacrificial Obligations
“You shall inquire after His dwelling and come there. And there you shall bring your burnt offerings”—Deuteronomy 12:5-6.
We are commanded to satisfy all our pledges on the first festival – of the three biblical festivals: Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot – following the undertaking of the pledge.
This includes all pledged sacrifices, monies, as well as the various mandatory gifts for the poor.
Delaying the Fulfilment of a Pledge
“When you vow a vow to G‑d, your G‑d, do not be late in paying it”—Deuteronomy 23:22
It is forbidden to postpone the fulfilment of a sacrificial pledge. One has not transgressed this prohibition until three festivals have passed after the pledge was made.