Coming Back to Life: The Yaakov Experience

פרשת ויגש
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Written by:
Rabbi Rick Schindelheim
Access editable doc with student handouts:

כה וַיַּעֲלוּ, מִמִּצְרָיִם; וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן, אֶל-יַעֲקֹב אֲבִיהֶם. כו וַיַּגִּדוּ לוֹ לֵאמֹר:

עוֹד יוֹסֵף חַי, 

וְכִי-הוּא מֹשֵׁל בְּכָל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם 

וַיָּפָג לִבּוֹ (his heart went cold/numb), כִּי לֹא-הֶאֱמִין לָהֶם.  

כז וַיְדַבְּרוּ אֵלָיו, אֵת כָּל-דִּבְרֵי יוֹסֵף אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר אֲלֵהֶם 

וַיַּרְא אֶת-הָעֲגָלוֹת אֲשֶׁר-שָׁלַח יוֹסֵף לָשֵׂאת אֹתוֹ 

וַתְּחִי רוּחַ יַעֲקֹב אֲבִיהֶם.  

כח וַיֹּאמֶר, יִשְׂרָאֵל, רַב עוֹד-יוֹסֵף בְּנִי, חָי; אֵלְכָה וְאֶרְאֶנּוּ, בְּטֶרֶם אָמוּת.

More Open-ended Questions

  1. What are the different emotions that יעקב experiences in these פסוקים?
  2. What does יעקב do, say, decide?
  3. What aspects of יעקב’s experience (feelings, doubts, choices) feel most familiar to you? Which feel most foreign to you (hardest to relate to)?

More Directed Guiding Questions

  1. What do you think it means that “ויפג ליבו” - “his heart went cold/numb”? What caused יעקב to experience this?
  2. Have you/do you ever experience something like this? What caused/causes it to happen?
  3. וַתְּחִי רוּחַ יַעֲקֹב אֲבִיהֶם - What do you think this felt like for יעקב? What do you think this looked like from the perspective of his children, what did they see when his רוח came to life?
  4. Have you/do you ever experience something like this? What caused/causes it to happen?

After realizing that יוסף is in fact really alive, יעקב says, אֵלְכָה וְאֶרְאֶנּוּ, בְּטֶרֶם אָמוּת, what is something/someone you want to “go and see” or do while you still have the chance?

ברכה אחרונה

“The Yaakov and Yosef story reminds me/helps me see that…”


“I see myself in Yaakov’s experience because…”

Notes to the teacher

  • This is the place to make suggestions to the teacher of different ways they may choose to facilitate this limmud
  • Or particular grade levels or sensitivities to take into account
  • Or anything else you think is important for the teacher to know

עבודת המורה

  • This is the place to raise some questions that make sure the teacher tests the limmud on themselves or others
  • Could be a general question like - which part of the limmud resonated most for you? Which question was the hardest for you to answer?
  • Or questions anticipating students’ responses- What do you think students will say for X or Y? To what extent are you open to being surprised?
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Please help others by sharing how you used the resource, how you adapted it (link to your own version!) and what worked more or less well. You can also post questions that Lifnai Vlifnim staff or community members will try to respond to.

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