Parsha Thought – Vayigash

Joseph Recognized by His Brothers (1863 painting by Léon Pierre Urbain Bourgeois)

Our portion this week is Vayigash – And he came near.

It is the climax of the story of Joseph and his brothers. After some 22 years Joseph finally has met his brothers, sees his own boyhood dreams coming true, and has them exactly where he wants them. Humbled. Not before him, but before Elohim. He sees that in the last 22 years, they have experienced a change of heart. So much so that the Joseph’s troublemaker half-brother, Judah, is willing to be sold into slavery for the sake of the youngest Benjamin. What a turn around!

It is with this heart that our passage opens. “And Judah came near…”

A simple phrase, but considering the circumstances, one of boldness. The man he was coming near to had the power of life and death over them. It was no light thing. Yet because of Judah’s repentant heart, Joseph’s response was the same. We read in the next chapter, “Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Please come near to me.’ And when the came near…”

The same is true for us as we approach the throne of Heaven. We have acted just as Judah and his brothers toward Elohim, and His son (Rom 5:8). Yet, as we come before Him with repentant hearts, we are asked to come even closer. What grace that allows us to “nagash” – to come near.

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