Parshas Mikeitz

Words in bold represent changes to the traditional translation based on the Aramaic translation/commentary attributed to Onkelos the Ger.

Parshas Mikeitz

Chapter 41


1. It happened at the end of two years’ time that Pharaoh dreamed and behold, he was standing by the river. [1]

2. Behold, seven cows arose from the river, of handsome appearance and healthy flesh. They grazed in the marsh.

3. And behold, seven other cows came up from the river behind them – of ugly appearance and thin flesh. They stood near the cows on the bank of the river.

4. The cows of ugly appearance and thin flesh devoured the seven cows of handsome appearance and healthy. And Pharaoh awoke.

5. He fell asleep and dreamed a second time. Seven ears of grain, healthy and good, growing on one stalk.

6. And behold, seven ears – thin and scorched by the east wind –sprouted behind them.

7. The thin ears swallowed the seven healthy and full ears. Pharaoh awoke and behold, it was a dream.

8. It happened in the morning that his spirit was troubled. He sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dream but none could interpret them for Pharaoh.

9. The chief wine steward told Pharaoh, saying, “I must recall my sins today.

10. Pharaoh became angry with his servants. He put me in custody in the house of the chief executioner, the chief baker with me.

11. We dreamed a dream on the same night, I and he, each man we dreamed according to the interpretation of his dream.

12. There with us was a Hebrew youth, a servant to the chief executioner. We told and he interpreted our dreams for us; each man he interpreted according his dream.

13. It happened that as he interpreted for us, so it came to pass: I was returned to my position and he was hanged.”

14. Pharaoh and called sent for Yoseif. He was rushed from the prison; his hair was cut, [2] he changed his clothes, and he came to Pharaoh.


15. Pharaoh said to Yoseif, “I dreamed a dream but there is no one to interpret it. I have heard about you saying that you hear a dream and interpret it.”

16. Yoseif answered Pharaoh, saying, “It’s not my wisdom. Rather from Hashem will Pharaoh’s peace be answered.”

17. Pharaoh said to Yoseif, “In my dream, behold, I was standing on the bank of the river.

18. Behold, from the river arose seven cows, of healthy flesh and handsome appearance. They grazed in the reed grass.

19. Behold, seven other cows arose behind them – emaciated, of extremely poor form and thin flesh – I had never seen their like in all the land of Egypt for bad!

20. The seven thin and ugly cows devoured the first seven cows, the healthy ones.

21. They went inside them but one couldn’t tell that they had gone inside them because their appearance was as bad as at first. I awoke.

22. I saw in my dream and behold, seven ears of grain growing on one stalk, full and good.

23. And behold, seven ears – withered, thin and blasted by the east wind – sprouted behind them.

24. The thin ears swallowed the seven good ears. I told my magicians but none could explain for me.”

25. Yoseif said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dream is one. What Hashem is about to do He has shown Pharaoh.

26. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; it’s one dream.

27. The seven thin and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears blasted by the east wind – they will be seven years of famine.

28. This is the matter that I have said to Pharaoh: What Hashem is about to do He has shown Pharaoh.

29. Behold, seven years are coming – great abundance throughout the land of Egypt.

30. Seven years of famine will arise after them. All the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten and famine will destroy the people of the land.

31. The abundance will not be known in the land because of the famine afterwards because it will be very severe.

32. As for repeating the dream for Pharaoh twice, it’s because the matter has been prepared before Hashem and Hashem is hurrying to do it.

33. “Now, let Pharaoh find a man of understanding and wisdom, and set him over the land of Egypt.

34. Let Pharaoh do this and appoint trustworthy people over the land, and prepare the land of Egypt in the seven years of plenty.

35. Let all the grain [3] of these good years that are coming be gathered; let the grain be collected under Pharaoh’s trusted as grain in the cities, and guard it.

36. Let that grain be a security for the people of the land for the seven years of famine which will come upon the land of Egypt, so that the people of the land not be destroyed by the famine.”

37. The matter was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and they eyes of all his servants.

38. Pharaoh said to his servants, “Could we find his like, a man who has the spirit of prophecy from Hashem in him?”


39. Pharaoh said to Yoseif, “Since Hashem has made all this known to you, there is no one as understanding and wise as you.

40. You will be appointed over my house and by your mouth all my people will be supported. [4] Only in the royal throne will I be more honored than you.”

41. Pharaoh said to Yoseif, “See, I have put you over all the land of Egypt.”

42. Pharaoh removed his ring from upon his hand and he placed it on Yoseif’s hand. He dressed him in clothes of fine linen and he put a gold chain on his neck.

43. He had him ride in the second chariot and they cried before him, “This is the king’s father!” [5] He appointed him over the entire land of Egypt.

44. Pharaoh said to Yoseif, “I am Pharaoh but without your word, no one will lift his hand to bear weapons or his foot to ride a horse throughout the land of Egypt.”

45. Pharaoh called Yoseif’s name “the man to whom hidden things are revealed.” [6] He gave him Asnas the daughter of Poti-Fera, the chief of Ohn, [7] as a wife. Yoseif went out ruler over the land of Egypt.

46. Yoseif was 30 years old when he stood before Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Yoseif left Pharaoh’s presence and he traveled through the entire land of Egypt.

47. During the seven years of plenty, the residents of land gathered grain for the storehouses.

48. He gathered all the grain of the seven years that were in the land of Egypt. He put the grain in cities; the grain of the field that surrounds a city, he put in it (i.e., in that city).

49. So Yoseif stored grain like the sands of the sea – very many – until he stopped counting it because it was uncountable.

50. Yoseif fathered two sons before the years of famine came, who were delivered to him by Asnas the daughter of Poti-Fera, the priest of Ohn.

51. Yoseif called the name of the firstborn Menashe – “Hashem has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house.”

52. The name of the second he called Efraim – “Hashem has made me fertile in the land of my enslavement.”


53. The seven years of abundance that were in the land of Egypt ended.

54. The seven years of famine started to come, as Yoseif had said. There was famine in all the lands but throughout the land of Egypt there was bread.

55. When the entire land of Egypt hungered, the people cried out to Pharaoh for bread. Pharaoh said to all Egypt, “Go to Yoseif; do whatever he tells you.”

56. The famine became severe in the land and Yoseif opened all the storehouses that had grain in them. He sold to the Egyptians and the famine intensified in the land of Egypt.

57. All the residents of the land came to Egypt, to buy grain from Yoseif, because the famine had become severe throughout the land.

Chapter 42

1. Yaakov saw that there was grain being sold in Egypt. He said to his sons, “Why are you looking at one another?

2. He said, “I hear that there’s grain being sold in Egypt. Go down there and buy for us from there so that we will live and not die.”

3. Ten of Yoseif’s brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt;

4. Yaakov didn’t send Yoseif’s brother Binyamin with his brothers because he said death might befall him. [8]

5. The sons of Yisroel came to purchase grain among those who came because the famine was in the land of Canaan.

6. Yoseif was ruler over the land. He was the one who disbursed grain to all the people of the land. Yoseif’s brothers came and bowed to him, their faces to the ground.

7. Yoseif saw his brothers and he recognized them; he considered what he should say to them [9] and spoke to them harshly. He asked them, “From where do you come?” They said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.”

8. Yoseif recognized his brothers but they didn’t recognize him.

9. Yoseif remembered the dreams that he had dreamed about them. He said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see the weakness of the land.”

10. They said to him, “No, my master! Your servants have come to purchase grain.

11. We are all of us sons of one man; we are upright men. Your servants were never spies!”

12. He said to them, “No. Rather, you have come to see the weakness of the land!”

13. They said, “We, your servants, were 12 brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan. Behold, the youngest is with our father today and one is no more.”

14. Yoseif said to them, “It’s as I told you, saying ‘You are spies!’

15. By this you will be tested: as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave from this (place) unless your youngest brother is brought here.

16. Send one of you and take your brother, and you will be confined. Your words will be tested, whether you speak the truth. If not, as Pharaoh lives, you’re spies!”

17. He confined them under guard for three days.

18. Yoseif said to them on the third day, “Do this and you shall live (because) I revere from before Hashem.


19. If you are upright men, let one of you brothers be held in your guard house while you go and bring the grain that’s missing in your houses. [10]

20. You must bring your youngest brother to me so that your words will be believed and you won’t die.” They did so.

21. They said to one another, “We are indeed guilty because of our brother, that we saw the trouble of his soul as he pleaded with us but we didn’t listen. That’s why this trouble has come upon us.”

22. Reuven answered them, saying, “Didn’t I tell you, saying, ‘Do not sin against the boy?’ But you didn’t listen. Also his blood, behold, is being demanded.”

23. They didn’t know that Yoseif understood because an interpreter was between them.

24. He turned from them and wept. He returned to them and spoke to them. He took Shimon from among them and bound him before their eyes.

25. Yoseif gave the order and their utensils were filled with grain, and to return each one’s money to his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. This was done for them.

26. They loaded their grain onto their donkeys and they departed from there.

27. One of them opened his sack to give fodder to his donkey at inn. He saw his money and behold, it was in the mouth of his bag.

28. He said to his brothers, “My money has been returned! Also behold, it’s in my bag!” The knowledge of their hearts departed and they trembled to one another, saying, “What is this that Hashem has done to us?”

29. They came to their father Yaakov in the land of Canaan and they told him all that had happened to them, saying,

30. “The man, the master of the land, spoke harshly to us. He took us as spying on the land.

31. We said to him, ‘We are honest men; we have never been spies!

32. We were 12 brothers, sons of our father; one is no more and the youngest is with our father in the land of Canaan today.’

33. The man, the master of the land, said to us, ‘By this I will know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me. Take the grain that’s missing in your houses and go.

34. Bring your youngest brother to me and I will know that you’re not spies but you’re honest men. I will give you your brother and you may do business in the land.’” [11]

35. It happened as they were emptying their sacks that behold – each one’s money bundle was in his sack! They and their father saw their money bundles and they were afraid.

36. Their father Yaakov said to them, “You have bereaved me! Yoseif is no more, Simeon isn’t here [12] and you would take Binyamin. All this is upon me!”

37. Reuven said to his father, saying, “You may kill my two sons if I don’t bring him back to you. Put him in my hand and I will return him to you.”

38. He said, “My son will not go down with you because his brother is dead and he alone remains. If death befalls him on the journey that you’re undertaking, you will send my white head grieving to Sheol.” [13]

Chapter 43

1. The famine was severe in the land.

2. When they had finished eating the grain that they brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Return and buy a little food for us.”

3. Yehuda said to him, saying, “The man warned us emphatically, saying, ‘You won’t see my face except when your brother is with you.’

4. If you will send our brother with us, we’ll go down and buy grain for you.

5. If you won’t send him, we won’t go down because the man said to us, ‘You won’t see my face unless your brother is with you.’”

6. Yisroel said, “Why did you treat me so poorly, to tell the man that you had another brother?”

7. They said, “The man kept asking about us and our family, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ We told him according to these things. How were we to know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down?”

8. Yehuda said to his father Yisroel, “Send the youth with me and we’ll get up and go so that we may live and not die – us and you and our infants.

9. I will guarantee him. You can require it from my hand if I don’t bring him back to you and set him before you; I will have sinned against you all the days (i.e., forever).

10. Because if we would not have delayed at this, we could have returned there twice by now.”

11. Their father Yisroel said to them, “If so, then do this: take some of the renowned fruits of the land in your utensils and bring them down as a gift for the man – some balm, some honey, wax, resin, pistachios and almonds.

12. Take double the money in your hands, and the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks return in your hands; it was probably a mistake. [14]

13. Take your brother, get up and return to the man.

14. May Almighty God [15] give you mercy before the man so that he send you your other brother and Binyamin. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”

15. The men took that gift, and they took double the money in their hands, and they took Binyamin. They got up and went down to Egypt, and they stood before Yoseif.


16. Yoseif saw Binyamin with them and he said to the one over his house, “Bring the men into the house. Slaughter an animal and prepare it because the men will eat lunch with me.” [16]

17. The man did as Yoseif said and the man brought the men into Yoseif’s house.

18. The men were scared because they were brought to Yoseif’s house. They said, “It’s because of the money returned in our sacks at first that we have been brought, to falsely accuse us, to overpower us, to acquire us as slaves, and to take our donkeys.”

19. The approached the man who was over Yoseif’s house and spoke to him at the entrance to the house.

20. They said, “Please, my master, we surely came down originally to buy grain.

21. It happened when we arrived at the inn and opened our sacks and behold, each man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full. We brought it back in our hands.

22. We brought down in our hands other money to buy food. We don’t know who put our money in our sacks.”

23. He said, “Peace to you; don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, placed treasure in your sacks for you. Your money came to me.” He brought Shimon out to them.

24. The man brought the men into Yoseif’s house. He gave them water and they washed their feet, and he gave fodder to their donkeys.

25. They arranged the gift until Yoseif came to lunch because they heard that there they would eat bread.

26. Yoseif came home and they brought him the gift that was in their hands into the house, bowing to him on the ground.

27. He asked their welfare and he said, “Is your elderly father of whom you spoke well? Is he still in alive?”

28. They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” They knelt and prostrated.

29. He raised his eyes and saw his brother Binyamin, his mother’s son, and he said, “Is this your youngest brother of whom you spoke to me?” And he said, “May you be favored from before Hashem, my son.”


30. Yoseif rushed (out) because his mercy stirred towards his brother and he sought to cry. He came into a room – the place with beds – and he cried there. [17]

31. He washed his face and went out. He restrained himself and said “Serve the bread.”

32. They served him alone and them alone, and the Egyptians eating with him alone because the Egyptians couldn’t eat bread with the Hebrews because the Hebrews eat the sheep that the Egyptians revere. [18]

33. They reclined before him, the firstborn according to his seniority and the youngest according to his youth and the men wondered at one another.

34. Portions were served them from before him. Binyamin’s portion was five times larger than all of their. They drank and became inebriated with him.

Chapter 44

1. He commanded the one over his house, saying, “Fill the men’s sacks with food according to their ability to carry and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack.

2. Put my goblet, the silver goblet, in the mouth of the youngest’s sack along with the money for his grain.” He did according to Yoseif’s word that he told (him).

3. The morning (became) light and the men were sent off, they and their donkeys.

4. They left the city. They hadn’t gone far when Yoseif said to the the one over his house, “Get up, pursue after the men! When you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why did you repay evil in place of good?

5. It this not from which my master drinks, and with which he surely tests? [19] You have done evil the way you acted!’”

6. He overtook them and he spoke those words to them.

7. They said to him, “Why does my master speak these words? Far be it from your servants to do anything like this!

8. Behold, the money that we found in the mouths of our sacks we returned to you from the land of Canaan. How could we steal utensils of silver or utensils of gold from your master’s house?

9. Whomever of your servants it is found with will be killed, [20] and also we will be slaves to my master.”

10. He said, “Also now, let it be according to your words: only the one with whom it is found will be my slave. The rest of you will go free.”

11. They hurried and each man lowered his sack to the ground. Each man opened his bag.

12. He searched, starting with the eldest and ending with the youngest. The goblet was found in Binyamin’s sack.

13. They tore their clothes. Each man loaded his donkey and they returned to the city.

14. Yehuda and his brothers came into Yoseif’s house and he was still there. They threw themselves on the ground before him.

15. Yoseif said to them, “What is this deed that you have done? Don’t you know that a man like me surely tests?”

16. Yehuda replied, “What can we say to my master? What can we say, how can we exonerate ourselves? The crime of your servants has discovered from before Hashem. Here we are, slaves to my master – all of us just like the one in whose hand the goblet was found.”

17. He said, “Far be it from me to act this way! The man in whose hand the goblet was found will be my slave. The rest of you ascend in peace to your father.”



1. Rather than “the canal,” referring specifically to the Nile (see Rashi).

2. Rather than “he was shaved.”

3. As opposed to “food.”

4. Rather than “ruled” or other alternatives. (The meaning of the Hebrew is particularly unclear.)

5. As opposed to “bend the knee” and other interpretations. (Again, the intention of the Hebrew is the subject of some discussion.)

6. Hebrew: “Tzafnas-Paneiach,” presumably a proper name.

7. Rather than “priest of Ohn.”

8. As opposed to a more vague “disaster” or “accident.”

9. Rather than “he acted like a stranger toward them.”

10. As opposed to “for your famished households.”

11. Rather than “travel in.”

12. As opposed to “is no more.”

13. i.e., the grave.

14. A little more emphatic than the Hebrew “maybe.”

15. “Eil Shaddai” in Hebrew, left untranslated by Onkelos.

16. Rather than “eat with me at noon.”

17. Onkelos specifies which room Yoseif entered.

18. The Chumash says that eating with Jews was abhorrent to the Egyptians; Onkelos explains why.

19. Rather than “divines,” as in “practices divination.”

20. Rather than “die.”

© Copyright 2021 Rabbi Jack Abramowitz