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    Corn, bread, wine & beans – Vayyiggash

    Joseph and his brothers are reconciled. Joseph sends the brothers back to their father in Canaan with corn, bread and food and “all the good things of Egypt” (Gen. 45:23).

    The Talmud (Meg. 16b) has two theories about “the good things of Egypt”. One view says that Joseph sent wine in order to cheer up his father’s spirits (Psalm 104:15).

    Another view thinks he sent beans, which are “good for aching hearts”.

    Why beans are an antidote for depression is of course the subject of rabbinic debate, and some say that beans calm you down and help you to sleep.

    Whichever food the Biblical verse has in mind it is clear that Joseph had been constantly thinking of his father throughout the years that he was away from home and realised that his father had been yearning to see his son again.

    So often it happens that circumstances separate parents and children and they never cease worrying about each other.

    In earlier generations there were many times when the separation was the result of external events; these days it can be that one has to go where there is a job. Whatever the reason, the reunion is an unbelievable joy.

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