In this week’s portion, Vayigash (Gen. 44:18 – 47:27), Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers, and sends them home to bring his father Jacob to Egypt with them where they will live out the remaining five years of the famine that Joseph predicted when interpreting Pharaoh’s dream.
Jacob is thrilled to know that Joseph is alive and well, as the text reads, “Jacob’s spirit came alive” (Gen. 45:27) at the news. But before he goes, the Torah reports a revelation that Jacob receives from God. In a night vision, similar to his encounter with God at Beth-El, God tells Jacob not to be afraid to go to Egypt. Perhaps Jacob perceives that Egypt will be a dangerous place for his descendants. As we will learn in the book of Exodus, (spoiler alert!) they will grow numerous in Egypt and a future Pharaoh, fearing their might, will enslave them. But God assures him that this is the plan God has in mind for Jacob and his descendants.
In our own lives, we sometimes have to go to a dangerous place in order to grow and to become greater than we are. Just like the children of Israel, God is with us and will see us through these endeavors.