Mending Relationships And Missing Ribs

Joseph and Benjamin: The Way Back to the Family

Rabbi David Fohrman
Rabbi David Fohrman


Parshat Vayigash opens with a tense scene: Joseph, whose identity is still unknown to his brothers, has just declared his intention to take his brother Benjamin as a slave. The rest of his brothers know that leaving Benjamin behind will devastate their father, and is simply not an option. But they are also powerless to stop Joseph from doing as he pleases. In a last ditch effort, Judah makes an impassioned plea to Joseph, explaining the unique bond between his father and Benjamin. And he uses an interesting turn of phrase: "The lad is unable to leave his father."

As it happens, that particular phrase about "leaving father" comes up somewhere else in the Book of Genesis: the Garden of Eden. That phrase is used following the union of Adam and Eve, of all things, stating that man leaves his father and mother to cling to his wife. But what could marriage possibly have to do with the drama of Joseph and his brothers in Egypt? Join Rabbi Fohrman as he explores the mysterious connections between Eden and Egypt, Adam and Benjamin, and more.