April 13, 2024 |


VaYigash 5771/2010: "Closer, Come Closer"

An often overlooked message within the Joseph story is the Joseph's own explanation to his brothers of what has happened: "Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Come forward to me." And when they came forward, he said, "I am your brother Joseph, he whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be distressed...

A Shepherded Community

As you know our synagogue is located in a wonderful DC neighborhood called Shepherd Park. The name Shepherd Park derives from Alexander Shepherd, who was the governor of the Territory of DC from 1873-1874. Governor Shepherd and his wife built a great mansion, which they called Bleak House, on the...

The Kindness of Yoseph

I've never understood the title of the Broadway play "Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat". First, the story is about Joseph, his father and his brothers, not Joseph and the coat. That may be nitpicky. It also might be nitpicky to ask why they called it a technicolor coat (which refers to a...

Parshat Vayigash: Walkthrough

[A Parsha Walkthrough is a colloquial translation of the original, telling the story in modern English as closely as possible to the way it is told in the original Hebrew.] [The brothers are desperate as Joseph has threatened to keep Benjamin as a slave and send the rest of them home.] Judah...

Bedford Bikers and Satmar Chasidim

Some of you might have heard about the Bedford Bike Lanes controversy. There is a major brouhaha currently going on in New York City concerning a bike path from Brooklyn to Manhattan and that goes along Bedford Avenue. Bedford Avenue goes through Williamsburg which has a very large and...


I occasionally have trouble starting and stopping. After each class that I give, I add my notes, handouts and research to a pile in my living room, which precipitously begins to grow. I look at it every time I walk by (afraid that it will one day devour the room) and think to myself that I need to...

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) -- Vayigash (3)

Parshah Va-Yiggash contains Joseph's dramatic revelation to his brothers and his emotional reunion with his father Jacob, but there's an interesting lesson to be had in between. Pharaoh has told Joseph to invite his entire family to settle in Egypt and promises they will be well treated. Joseph...

My video divrei Torah on this parasha from youtube Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

vayishla Jacob wrestles and gets renamed Israel JewU285 God was on Jacob's side as Jacob wrestlesd himself JewU292

VaYigash 5769: "The Possible Blessing of Encounter"

I've been spending some time with Martin Buber recently, preparing for a public conversation with my friend Josh Kornbluth, as part of his monologue at the Contemporary Jewish Museum entitled "Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews?" Buber is one of 10 Jewish portraits in museum's exhibit, and is himself...

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) - Vayigash (2)

The climactic revelation by Joseph to his brothers in Parshah Va-Yiggash includes an innocent question that actually raises some issues. “I am Joseph,” he declares. “Is my father still well?” (Gen. 45:3) He’s now been the most powerful man in Egypt for several years and he hasn’t tried to let...


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