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    What sort of people are the Jews? – Vayyiggash

    The story of Joseph and his brothers becomes especially dramatic when Joseph reveals his identity and promises to introduce his brothers to Pharaoh.

    There are however 11 brothers. Why does he only present five of them to the king?

    The Midrash says he did this deliberately, choosing only those brothers who were shepherds. He wanted the king to get the impression that the family were hard-working agriculturalists, not soldiers who might have plans to overthrow the regime.

    There is something symbolic of Jewish history in this episode.

    What sort of people are the Jews?

    Peace-loving, dedicated to the constructive use of time and talents.

    Unfortunately it also became necessary for Jews to be warriors, to defend themselves and fight for God (though there is no truth in the antisemitic canard that Jews want to conquer the world).

    Fighting is not a Jewish ideal – it is an interim ethic which will become less necessary as time goes on, until the world reaches the messianic age which the prophets describe so eloquently.

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