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    Why was Jacob afraid? – Vayyiggash

    Joseph & Jacob reunite, by Charles Foster

    Jacob was scared to leave home and move to Egypt. God told him, “Don’t be afraid”.

    How could he be afraid when he was going to a land where his son was a powerful official and the family would have plenty to eat?

    The patriarch was afraid because he could hardly believe his good fortune. When he eventually told Pharaoh that he had had a hard life he was not making it up but telling the truth. Now it was like Psalm 126, Shir HaMa’alot, and the dream was coming true.

    But dreaming isn’t the only translation of hayinu k’chol’mim in Psalm 126. The root chet-lamed-mem can also mean to heal or recover, and in that sense the future would be a time of calm and recuperation after all the years of turbulence.

    Hence God’s words were not only “Don’t be afraid” but also “I will be with you”… “Hold My hand and I will be with you in your joy”.

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