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Torah Talk for Parashat Vayigash

December 11, 2018 by Sharon Freundel (Community)

In this parasha, Yosef reveals his identity to his brothers, prompting the entire family to move to Egypt, where Yosef reunites with his father, Yaakov.

Why did God arrange for the Israelites to end up in Egypt? In Devarim (Deuteronomy) 4:20, the text refer to Egypt as “cur habarzel” (an iron furnace). This description of Egypt as cur habarzel also appears in Melachim Aleph (I Kings) and Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah). Rashi defines a cur habarzel as “a vessel in which gold is purified.” Cur habarzel can also mean a “smelting furnace” or a “kiln;” an oven that gets very, very hot. Perhaps this characterization of Egypt as a cur habarzel can help explain why the Jewish people had to come to fruition as a nation in Egypt.

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