Portions Library

A collection of excerpts from Torah Club on the weekly Torah Portions, from Genesis to Deuteronomy.

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Preparing for the Lean Years

Life is uncertain, and it is only prudent to lay up savings and provisions. The Proverbs say, "In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has." Contrary to the advice of Joseph, modern society promotes a lifestyle of squandering all available wealth, overspending and relying on credit.

Exaltation of Messiah

Joseph’s descent into Egypt can be likened unto the descent of the soul of Messiah. Like Joseph, He took “the form of a bond-servant” and “humbled Himself.” Joseph lost his princely place in his father’s household and took the low estate of a slave and prisoner. The same might be said of the righteous, exalted soul of Messiah.

Joseph in Disguise

Joseph’s brothers did not “recognize” him in that they did not treat him like a brother. He recognized his brothers in that he treated them with mercy when they fell into his power. Though the Jewish nation has not yet recognized Him as a brother and as the Messiah, He recognizes His brothers.

This too is for the good

Joseph stubbornly clung to an unshakable confidence in the God of his fathers. Even though everything had tumbled down around him, He kept looking to God and believing that God was working through the chaos. He never fell into depression or despondency because he always believed that he was right where God had placed him.

Relinquishing Worries

It's not easy to just quit worrying. Jacob was terribly worried about allowing Benjamin to go to Egypt, but in order to save the family from starvation (not to mention liberate Simeon), he had no other choice. According to Rashi, after Jacob had done all that he could by providing his sons with gifts to bring to Egypt, he said, "Now you lack nothing but prayer. I will pray for you." In the text of the Torah, he prays, "May God Almighty grant you compassion in the sight of the man, so that he will release to you your other brother and Benjamin" (Genesis 43:14). When we have done all that we can do, we should do like Jacob and convert our worries into prayers.