for Parshat VaYigash
Joseph tells his brothers of his dreams
that predict his greatness
that make his brothers hate him so much
they send him off to slavery in Egypt.
Joseph becomes a powerful man.
The brothers, not knowing who he is,
come to him for bread.
Joseph throws them in jail
plays tricks with their money
calls them spies & thieves
until Judah, Joseph’s brother,
tells this unknown man
all he has wrought upon them
and how the game he is playing
will break their father.
Joseph breaks down
he cries: I am Joseph
he says: you had thought to do me harm;
God has brought me
to sustain a great nation.
And Joseph cares for his brothers
the rest of their lives.
And this is the first time
anyone acknowledges God
as overseeing the brothers’ whole story.
Judah tells Joseph
what he could never say before:
how much Joseph matters to this family.
And that is what breaks down the walls
between Joseph and his brothers
and takes the curtain away
between the brothers and God.
For simplicity, I wrote that the brothers send Joseph to Egypt, but the sale of Joseph is far more indirect. See Gen 37:18-29