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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

VaYigash 11-7

And (he) approached

Genesis 47:11-27

Joseph collected all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan in payment for the grain they were buying, and he brought it to Pharaoh's palace.

Gen. 47:14 NIV

Was it fair to collect all the money from the people and bring it to Pharaoh?

When Yosef was in charge of the government in Egypt, he managed all the grain that he had collected in the cities according to the people's need. Everyone had to come to buy food during the seven years of drought.

The following question rises: why didn't Yosef give the grains to the people for free? Why didn't the state support its citizens with food during the drought if it were in its power to do it? Obviously, the Torah does not approve Communism but supports and defends our right to private property. What the Torah does not approve is unfair exploitation of anyone, poor or rich. Yosef acted in justice under the guidance of the Eternal.

In the first place, we have to understand that the Eternal had given Yosef an almost supernatural gift for managing. Yosef knew well how to do things the best possible way. The Spirit of the Eternal was with him so he could act with wisdom in any situation he found himself in. What Yosef did was from heaven. That's why we understand that the Eternal wanted all the money from the Egyptians and the nations around them to get to Pharaoh at that time.

In the second place, we have to see this from a broader perspective. The Eternal had a plan with the money from the world where Egypt had influence. One of the reasons the money had to get to Egypt was that HaShem wanted that money to go to the hands of the sons of Israel in the moment they left from slavery. Many years of slavery deserve a very high pay. That pay came to the sons of Israel when they departed, as prophesied in Genesis 15:14: "But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions." (NIV) And in Exodus 12:36 it is written: "And the LORD had given the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. Thus they plundered the Egyptians." (ESV)

Was it only for the people of Israel to become wealthy that HaShem gave them such riches? No, a great part of those riches was used to build the tabernacle full of gold, silver, bronze, precious stones and costly textiles. The money that Yosef was collecting was eventually used for the honour and glory of the Elokim of Israel.

Be faithful in your management of wealth, and thus you will bring honour and glory to the Eternal.

May the Eternal lift His face upon you and give you peace!

Shabbat shalom,


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