Adapted from the Vayishlach pages of Parsha Pages for Sefer Bereishis, this is a basic overview of the continuation of the parsha story in a traditional “Q&A” format, easily reworked for kids of any age. Answers in brackets are traditional responses, from parsha text and midrash. But be open to anything your child might have to say!
In the beginning of this parsha, יוסף is still in jail!
פרעה had two strange dreams:
In the first dream… (seven skinny cows swallowed seven fat cows)
In the second dream… (seven skinny stalks of grain swallowed seven fat stalks of grain)
פרעה’s שר המשקים (wine butler) told him about a person who could explain the dreams… (יוסף!)
יוסף told פרעה that the dreams meant a famine was coming!
How many good years would there be first? (seven)
Then how many years with not enough food? (seven)
יוסף had some advice for פרעה… (save up food during the good years)
פרעה needed a wise person to help save up food… (so he chose יוסף!)
יוסף went from being a slave to being a very important person in מצרים.
פרעה gave יוסף … (jewellery, clothing, a ride in his chariot) to show how important he was.
פרעה gave יוסף (his own ring!) to show that יוסף was in charge.
פרעה also gave him a new מצרי name… (צָפְנַת פַּעְנֵחַ)… and a wife (אָסְנַת).
יוסף and אסנת had two sons, אפרים and מנשה… (on שבת, we bench boys to become like them…!)
יוסף saved up more than enough food! Then, the famine came.
Was the famine only in מצרים? (no, it was also in ארץ כנען)
יעקב sent ten of יוסף’s brothers to מצרים… (to bring back food for the whole family)
Which brother didn’t יעקב send? (בנימין; he didn’t want to lose the last of רחל’s sons)
Did the brothers recognize יוסף when they got to מצרים? (no, they did not!)
יוסף recognized his brothers, though. He decided to test them!
What did יוסף need to find out? (if his brothers had done teshuvah for betraying him)
יוסף gave his brothers some food, but said if they wanted more, they had to bring… (בנימין)
Did יעקב want to send בנימין? (no, he did not!)
One of the brothers promised to be in charge of בנימין… (יהודה)
The brothers went down to מצרים again to get more food.
As they were about to go back home, יוסף ordered his guards to open… (בנימין’s bag)
What did the guards find there? (יוסף’s silver cup!)
Did בנימין really steal the cup? (no, יוסף’s guards put it there)
The guards told the brothers that בנימין would have to… (stay as a slave in מצרים)
Are the brothers going to leave בנימין as a slave, the way they did with יוסף?
יוסף wants to make sure they’ve learned their lesson and will stick up for their brother.
We’ll find out whether they have done teshuvah in next week’s Parsha…