imaginary family values presents

yesh omrim

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Good Pharoah or bad Pharoah?

7 January 2004

Pharoah to Joseph and his brothers, in Genesis 45:20: “Don’t be concerned about your possessions [when you move down here], because you will have the bounty of all the land of Egypt.”

Me: “Very clever—by encouraging them to leave their possessions behind, Pharoah is making Jacob’s family more dependent on him.”

My wife: “No, he’s giving them a chance to save face. They can say that they’re coming empty-handed at Pharoah’s request, and not because the famine has impoverished them.”

The commentators in Torat Chayyim, at least, are silent on this question. What say ye?