Category Archives: Miketz

Giving the Benefit of the Love (Miketz)

Giving the Benefit of the Love (Miketz)

Love is the affinity which links and draws together the elements of the world… Love, in fact, is the agent of universal synthesis. -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

At the end of the previous Torah portion, Joseph correctly interprets the dreams of his jail mates, Pharoah’s butler (who is pardoned and reinstated) and Pharaoh’s baker (who is found guilty and executed). In the current Torah portion, thanks to that display of insight, Joseph is called upon to interpret the dreams of Pharoah himself. It’s an opportunity that answers Joseph’s prayers, releases him from incarceration, and elevates him to the role of Viceroy of the Egyptian empire.

Using Joseph’s story as a springboard and looking at the Hebrew etymology of the words butler (saar hamashkim) and baker (saar haafot) the Bat Ayin on Genesis   examines further the divine mechanics of prayers being answered. He differentiates between those who are more deserving like the butler and those who are less, like the baker.

The root for the word butler, shk, is the same as the root for kissing. The root for the word baker, af, is the same as the root for anger. The Bat Ayin explains that when someone is on God’s good side, it’s as if God is “kissing” the person and their prayers are more easily answered. When someone isn’t really listening to God, it incites God’s “anger” and separation from God, making his prayers much less effective. However, the Bat Ayin states that there is a remedy: if one somehow “joins” with all of Israel in one’s prayers.

The most effective way to “join” all of Israel, is to love everyone of Israel. The only way to love everyone of Israel is to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. By giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, it enables the ability to love everyone. When a person loves all of Israel then they are connected to all of Israel, and no matter how undeserving that individual is, they reach the level of “kissing” God and that opens the gateways of prayers, acceptance, and blessings.

May we learn to be more loving as well as giving people the benefit of the doubt.

Shabbat Shalom and Chanuka Sameach,



To the lighting of the Menorah of Rabbi Baruch and Rachel Posner of the iconic picture in Nazi Germany. It was lit by their grandson in front of the German Prime Minister and his wife, in his grandparents’ home in Kiel, Germany, where the original picture was taken.

 See below picture and link to article about it:

Blessed Limbs (Miketz)

Blessed Limbs (Miketz)

Even as a tortoise draws in its limbs, the wise can draw in their senses at will. -Bhagavad Gita

Joseph’s story is perhaps one of the most dramatic and incredible rags-to-riches stories in history. In the space of a few minutes, he goes from being a destitute, abandoned, and imprisoned slave to being the Viceroy of the Egyptian Empire, the mightiest empire on the planet at the time. We can only be amazed at his composure when he is suddenly brought from his dungeon before Pharaoh, the mightiest man on Earth, and all of his advisors and he is asked to decipher Pharaoh’s cryptic dream.

Joseph correctly interprets Pharaoh’s dream, predicting the coming years of plenty to be followed by famine. He astutely recommends that Pharaoh should stock the surplus from the years of plenty in preparation for the years of famine. He adds that someone should be in charge and bear responsibility for the nationwide effort. Pharaoh and his advisors can’t think of anyone better than Joseph and thus he’s appointed to the position of Pharaoh’s right-hand man.

The language used to describe Joseph’s newly bestowed powers are interesting:

“You shall be in charge of my court, and by your mouth shall all my people be directed.

And removing his signet ring from his hand, Pharaoh put it on Joseph’s hand; and he had him dressed in robes of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck.

Without you, no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”

The Chidushei HaRim on Genesis 41:40 wonders as to why the Torah refers to various body parts when describing Joseph’s role. Mouth, hand, neck, foot all receive mention. He takes us back to Joseph’s incident with Potiphar’s wife and how Joseph resisted her constant seduction. Because Joseph did not sin with any of his body parts, he merited that he should be rewarded through his body parts. The mouth that didn’t kiss Potiphar’s wife would command the Egyptian nation.

Joseph’s strength and control of his limbs purified them and allowed them to be the conduit for great blessings and success.

May we remember who should be in control of our limbs.

Shabbat Shalom and Chanukah Sameach,



To the Yeshiva University Maccabees’ winning streak. Look them up.

The Grandeur of the Oppressor (Miketz)

The Grandeur of the Oppressor (Miketz)

An empire is an immense egotism. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Pharaoh has a disturbing dream. He brings Joseph, a young, incarcerated Jewish slave to interpret the dream. Joseph conveys that the dream is a prophecy of seven years of plenty that will be quickly followed by seven years of famine. Joseph councils for Pharaoh to save grain from the years of plenty in preparation for what he predicts will be a devastating period of famine. Pharaoh is impressed and puts Joseph in charge of the entire project and elevates him to Viceroy of the Egyptian empire.

Joseph fills Egypt’s storehouses during the years of plenty and its treasury during the years of famine. Because of Joseph’s warning and preparation, Egypt was the only country in the entire region that was ready when famine struck. It made the wealthy and powerful Egypt even wealthier and more powerful. All the peoples of the region flocked to Egypt for grain. At this point, Egypt was reputed to have received the wealth of the entire world.

The Bechor Shor on Genesis 41:1 gives an eerie explanation for why Egypt becomes the undisputed superpower of its time. He states that God, knowing that Egypt would eventually subjugate and enslave the Jewish people, wanted to raise Egypt’s prospects even further. God wanted Egypt to become the most powerful nation in the world before it enslaved the Jews. The reason is that God only wants the Jews subjugated by a powerful nation as opposed to a more lowly one. The Bechor Shor explains that not only was this true with Egypt, but with each subjugator of the Jewish people. God raises the fortunes of whatever empire or nation are about to subdue the Jews and we have seen this throughout our history. The fortunes of empire peak at the same time as the subjugation of the Jews starts. God doesn’t want to give the Jewish people into the hands of a lowly nation, but rather to one at the height of its power.

However, it has also proven true that while a nation may be at the height of its power when the subjugation starts, invariably, a nation that oppresses and persecutes its Jewish population, no matter how powerful, is eventually relegated to the dustbin of history.

May we be wary of nations at the height of their power.

Shabbat Shalom and Chanuka Sameach,



To vaccination. May it ever be safe and effective.

Reputation Management (Miketz)

Reputation Management (Miketz)

His reputation is what men say he is. That can be damaged; but reputation is for time, character is for eternity. -John B. Gough

Joseph has traversed an existential roller-coaster. To review, Joseph goes from being his father’s favorite son, to his brothers jealously hating him and throwing him into a pit, which led to his being sold as a slave and taken south from the land of Canaan to Egypt. He was purchased by the powerful Egyptian minister Potiphar. In Potiphar’s home, Joseph proves his utility and trustworthiness to the point where he becomes the Head Slave, in charge of the entire household. That is until Potiphar’s wife tries to seduce the handsome young man; but when Joseph rejects her advances, Potiphar’s wife accuses Joseph of accosting her, getting him sentenced to the royal prison. When Pharaoh requires an effective dream-interpreter, the royal wine steward, for whom Joseph had successfully interpreted his dream, recommends Joseph.

Joseph is brought from the royal dungeons to Pharaoh and successfully interprets Pharaoh’s dream to the delight of Pharaoh and the entire royal court. Pharaoh is so incredibly impressed with the young prisoner and slave that on the spot he designates him as Viceroy, second only to Pharaoh in all of the mighty Egyptian empire.

The Torah adds another factoid as part of the narrative. Pharaoh acts as a royal matchmaker and sets up his new young Viceroy with a bride. He matches Joseph with Osnat, the daughter of his powerful Egyptian minister, Potiphar, the very man who had sent Joseph to prison in the first place.

The Meshech Chochma on Genesis 41:45 suggests, that Pharaoh was cognizant of Joseph’s colorful and unusual past. He clearly knew that his new Viceroy had a criminal record as well as had been a lowly slave. Pharaoh was concerned that the Egyptian population would be critical of the young Viceroy with a disreputable past. In order to ameliorate such criticism, in order to bolster his reputation, who better for Joseph to marry than into the family that had originally sent him to jail; who would have the most reason to be jealous of their former slave’s success; who knew Joseph better than anyone else and could theoretically cause the most trouble?

Therefore, Pharaoh matches Joseph with Osnat, the daughter of Potiphar, in a successful effort to forestall any criticism from that angle. It does keep them quiet and they come to love Joseph.

May our reputations remain untarnished, and barring that, may we have successful comebacks.

Shabbat Shalom and Chanuka Sameach,



To my nephew Jacob Epstein, on his Bar-Mitzvah. Mazal Tov!

Magnanimous Winner (Miketz)

Magnanimous Winner (Miketz)

You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims. -Harriet Woods

As a young lad, Joseph dreamed of eleven sheaves bowing down to his sheaf; of eleven stars, the sun and the moon bowing down to him. His family interpreted the dreams as Joseph’s projection that he would rule over them. His brothers hated him for it. They first conspired to kill him but settled on selling him as a slave to Egypt. Joseph disappeared from their lives, the annoying, presumptuous teenager abandoned to a lifetime of slavery.

Fast forward a couple of decades later and through a most unusual set of circumstances, Joseph is elevated from slavery, from a prison cell, to become the Viceroy of the Egyptian empire, the second most powerful man on the planet, after Pharaoh.

Joseph’s brothers, during the regional famine, come down to Egypt and find themselves bowing down in front of this Viceroy. Joseph recognizes his brothers. They don’t recognize him. Now would be the perfect time for Joseph to announce himself to his brothers and say: “Ha! It’s me! It’s Joseph! See! I won! My dream came true! You laughed at my dream, but look who is bowing down to who!”

But Joseph does none of that. He works hard to remain unrecognized. He runs the brothers through an elaborate machination to bring the youngest brother, Benjamin, Joseph’s only full-brother (he was half-brothers with the rest) to Egypt. Only after a harrowing plot where Joseph threatens to imprison Benjamin, does Joseph finally reveal himself in one of the most dramatic and emotional scenes in the Torah.

The Berdichever (among a multitude of other commentators) asks why Joseph didn’t reveal himself earlier. Why go through the whole charade and subterfuge only to disclose his true identity much later in the story?

He answers that he wanted to spare their feelings. If Joseph had revealed himself at that moment when they were bowing down, then he would indeed have rubbed his victory in their faces. It would have been the fulfillment of his dream if they knew it was Joseph they were bowing down to. By keeping his identity secret from them, they were just bowing down to the Egyptian Viceroy, which was completely appropriate. They weren’t bowing down to Joseph.

After the circumstances were right and enough time had passed since they bowed down to the “Viceroy,” did Joseph feel that it would not be as powerful a sting if he would reveal himself.

He was magnanimous in victory, going to extreme lengths to spare the losers from needless pain and anguish over their abnegation.

Shabbat Shalom and Chanuka Sameach,



To the Maccabees, who beat the Greco-Syrian Seleucid Empire and their Hellenistic accomplices and banished them from the land of Israel (165 BCE), which we celebrate to this day, 2183 years later.

The Source Material of Dreams

The Source Material of Dreams

Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal. -Pamela Vaull Starr

Pharaoh, the King of Egypt, has a disturbing dream. Seven sickly bone-thin cows consume seven healthy large cows; seven sickly shriveled wheat stalks absorb seven healthy robust wheat stalks. Pharaoh is shaken by the vision and knows it portends some danger to the Egyptian empire. After his advisors and wise men fail to interpret the dream to his satisfaction, the young Hebrew slave, Joseph, imprisoned in the royal dungeon is remembered and brought to Pharaoh to try his luck at interpreting what no one else could. Joseph does it, predicts seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine, is elevated and thereby saves himself, all of Egypt and eventually his family, who join him in Egypt once the prophesized famine hits the region.

Rabbeinu Bechaye on Genesis 41:1 (Miketz) explains the components that make up a person’s dreams and what elements of them are prophetic.

There are three inputs to our dreams: food; thoughts; and what he calls “strengthening of the soul.”

Food causes “fumes” to go to the brain. Dreams that come as a result of what we ate are nonsense. Our thoughts during the day, will lead to dreaming of those matters at night. Those dreams hold no significant importance.

However, the third element of a dream comes from the “strengthening of the soul,” and according to Rabbeinu Bechaye entails a minor prophecy. The dream’s source is the soul and is independent of anything we might have thought about previously. It comes from the power of our imagination to picture matters that the soul senses while awake. Our imagination then illustrates these visions to our mind in our dream-state when we are free of the noise, inputs, stimuli and distractions of our waking hours. These visions are true when the person’s imaginative powers are strong and he hasn’t thought about the vision previously.

This is similar to the minor prophecy that the sages attribute to children and fools, as they don’t have the same mental filters rational adults have developed for such prophetic messages.

He adds that both the righteous as well as the wicked can receive such prophetic dreams. In Pharaoh’s case, God specifically sent the prophetic dream to him, to set in motion the release and elevation of Joseph.

May we strengthen our own souls and dream prophetic dreams.

Shabbat Shalom and Chanuka Sameach,



To the Jewish community of Atlanta. I had the privilege to enjoy your southern hospitality in a time of need.

Joseph, Social Economist

Joseph, Social Economist

But while they prate of economic laws, men and women are starving. We must lay hold of the fact that economic laws are not made by nature. They are made by human beings. -Franklin D. Roosevelt


Joseph correctly interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, warning of seven years of plenty followed by seven year of famine. Pharaoh was so impressed by Joseph’s abilities that he appointed Joseph as his Viceroy and put him in charge of the Egyptian empire. Joseph takes the reins of the kingdom and distinguishes himself by creating storehouses for the grain, overseeing the orderly sale and distribution of the grain during the famine, and successfully managing and developing the overall Egyptian economy.

Rabbi Hirsch, in his commentary on Genesis 41, points out two noteworthy economic policies that Joseph instituted during the years of famine.

The first policy was that people had to pay for the grain that he distributed. Though the storehouses of Egypt were overflowing with “uncountable” amounts of grain, Joseph still charged the starving population for it. Rabbi Hirsch explains that had Joseph handed the grain out for free, it would not be valued by the population. People don’t value or appreciate handouts as much as something that they have to pay for.

The second policy was that Joseph sold only enough grain to each family to feed that family. He did not sell wholesale. There were only retail sales. He wanted to prevent a situation of hoarding, speculative buying and enterprising capitalists cornering the grain market.

Although socialists may have preferred free handouts and capitalists would have preferred freer access to wholesale deals, investments, a fluctuating market, speculation, and letting their capital work for them, Joseph’s policies insured that Egypt survived the famine.

A balanced economic policy seems to have been exactly what the country needed.

Shabbat Shalom and Chanuka Sameach,



To the irrepressible Pieprz family for a glorious Shabbat in Karnei Shomron.

The Mother of All Languages

 A different language is a different vision of life. -Federico Fellini 

LanguagesJoseph, in a most unpredictable set of circumstances, goes from being an imprisoned slave, accused of accosting his master’s wife and rotting in prison, to being the Viceroy of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh in controlling the Egyptian Empire, if not the world. Pharaoh and his ministers are so impressed by Joseph’s dream interpretation skills and intelligence that they give him the keys to the kingdom.

There is an ancient tale, a midrash, that states that the angel Gabriel, in order to assist Joseph with his royal promotion, teaches him the seventy core languages known to humankind. The Sfat Emet in the year 5635 (1874), wonders as to the need and the symbolism of teaching Joseph seventy tongues. He goes on to explain that it was necessary in order to rule this world power. Furthermore, the seventy tongues are all an outgrowth of the one original language: Hebrew.

Hebrew, the holy tongue, is the source of all languages and it is the Torah that gives life to the spoken word. Languages merely clothe the holy tongue, though they have different forms and aspects. Joseph needed to understand all the languages and associate them to their Hebraic source in order to rule the world. The Sfat Emet then gets into more Kabbalistic reasons for Joseph’s intense and comprehensive language immersion course, among them the ability to connect other languages to the innermost meaning at its Hebrew source.

There is a hidden strength and power in language, and particularly the Hebrew one. Let’s use them with care.

Shabbat Shalom,



To Dr. Gustavo Perednik, who lectured on exactly this theme a few months ago in Montevideo and demonstrated, from academic sources, how Hebrew is one of the first languages, if not the first language, and its pervasive, yet unappreciated influence on languages of the world.









Carefully Chosen Words

First posted on The Times of Israel at:

Baal Haturim Genesis: Miketz

Carefully Chosen Words

We would often be sorry if our wishes were granted. -Aesop

Jacob’s sons had been to Egypt and back, where they had been strangely received and then rebuffed by their brother Joseph whom they didn’t recognize. Joseph, Viceroy of Egypt, had given them vital food during the worldwide famine, imprisoned one brother, Simon, and warned them that they would not be received again without the youngest brother, Benjamin.

Back in Canaan, Jacob prohibits his sons from returning to Egypt with his beloved Benjamin. In a rash display of confidence, the eldest son, Reuben, states to his father: let me take Benjamin with us and if I do not return him, you can kill my two children. Jacob does not respond to this incomprehensible statement.

Rabbinic commentators take Reuben to task for such a deadly statement. The Baal Haturim on Genesis 42:37 takes the rebuke a step further and claims that Reuben’s declaration actually did lead to the tragic death of two of his descendants. His notorious descendants, Datan and Aviram, lead a rebellion against Moses in the desert and are miraculously swallowed up by the earth as divine punished. While they were clearly deserving of death, the Baal Haturim directly relates their fate to the unfortunate choice of words by their ancestor.

Let’s be very careful with the words and expressions we use – God is always listening, and even if it is in jest, or even if we don’t mean it – He might decide to make it come true.

Shabbat Shalom and Hanuka Sameach,



To the memory of Nissan ben Shlomo (Neil Israel), father of our dear friend Rachel Zlatkin.










El miedo de Benjamín

ficción bíblica: Génesis Miketz

Traducido del inglés y editado por Caro Cynovich

­benjaminCupEl miedo de Benjamín

—No fue tan terrible como me temía —Benjamín exhaló—. De hecho, fue realmente agradable. El Virrey es un generoso anfitrión.

—Sí —añadió Simeón—. Incluso después de que me encarcelaron, me trataron como un huésped real.

Benjamín y sus diez medio-hermanos viajaban con sus burros cargados de grano hacia fuera de la capital egipcia.

—Todo el encuentro fue extraño —advirtió Judá pensativamente—. La conducta del Virrey fue inusual. Primero nos acusó de ser espías, y cuando llevamos a Benjamín nos trató como hermanos perdidos. Su línea de preguntas también era extraña. Muy personales. Creo que él no estaba convencido de Benjamín fuera nuestro hermano. Era como si estuviera tratando de determinar nuestros sentimientos hacia Benjamín. Me pregunto, ¿por qué le importaría?

—Seamos agradecidos de que hemos recuperado Simeón —Reubén aconsejó—. No hay necesidad de buscar nuevas preocupaciones. Démonos prisa para volver a casa a Canaán y dejar este episodio atrás.

Estando de acuerdo con Reubén, Benjamín miró hacia atrás como si fuera a dar un último adiós a la capital.

—¿Qué es esa nube? —se preguntó, perplejo.

Se está moviendo hacia nosotros rápidamente, pensó Benjamín.

Todos los hermanos se dieron vuelta.

—No es bueno —dijo Judá.

—Se trata de un ejército —señaló Simeón.

Sí. Es el polvo que levanta un pelotón al moverse rápido. El corazón de Benjamín latía más rápido.

—¿Tal vez es un nuevo despliegue de tropas? —dijo Reubén, esperanzado.

—No. Es un ejército en persecución —declaró Judá.

—¿A quiénes están persiguiendo? —preguntó Benjamín nerviosamente.

—En vista de que no hay otros grupos en este camino que hayan tenido trato con los gobernantes, sospecho que nos persiguen a nosotros —concluyó Judá.

—Corramos —Simeón instó.

—Nuestros burros nunca podrán dejar atrás a sus caballos —Judá contestó—. No hemos hecho nada malo, aunque estoy preocupado. Formen un perímetro alrededor de Benjamín, y sigamos nuestro camino casualmente, como si no pasara nada.

—No necesito protección especial —Benjamín protestó débilmente. ¿Me dejarán solo a la primera señal de problemas? Mis hermanastros tienen una historia de traición hacia los hijos de Rachel.

—Le prometí a Padre tu seguridad —respondió Judá—. Si algo te llegara a suceder a ti, hijo de su amada Rachel, Padre probablemente moriría de la pena. Él no tomaría ese tipo de noticias del resto de nosotros tan mal como si te pasara algo a ti.

Benjamín asintió con la cabeza mientras sus hermanos lo rodearon en sus monturas. Judá es un hombre de palabra, y el resto podría seguir su ejemplo.

Momentos después una caballería de cien hombres fuertes los rodearon. Eran liderados por el capitán del Virrey, el joven y autoritario Menashé.

—¡Deténganse, bandidos! —Menashé gritó mientra cien lanzas apuntaban a los hermanos.

—¿Por qué se dirige a nosotros así, mi Señor? —Reubén preguntó.

—¿Por qué han pagado con mal a la generosidad de mi amo? —Menashé replicó coléricamente—. Ustedes han robado su preciado recipiente para beber. ¿No esperaban que él descubriera su ausencia? Le han hecho un mal.

—Dios no quiera que sus humildes siervos hicieran tal cosa —respondió Reubén—. Ya hemos devuelto el dinero que fue colocado por error en nuestras bolsas. ¿Cómo podríamos tomar algo de la casa de tu amo, ya sea de plata o de oro? ¡Revísanos! Si hallas que alguno de nosotros tiene un objeto robado, que sea condenado con la muerte, y el resto seremos esclavos.

—Será como usted diga —sonrió Menashé—. Aunque no vamos a ser tan duros como tú sugieres. La simple justicia egipcia bastará. El ladrón se convertirá en mi esclavo y el resto de ustedes será libre de partir.

Reubén descargó su pesada bolsa de arpillera de su burro, la colocó en el suelo y la abrió para que Menashé la inspeccionara. Cada uno de los hermanos repitieron a su vez el gesto.

Menashé desmontó de su orgulloso caballo egipcio y, al amparo de las lanzas de la caballería, se acercó a las bolsas. Cogió una espada corta de su lado derecho y la metió en el bolso abierto de Reuben. Hizo girar el cuchillo en la bolsa para oír el silbido de grano en el acero.

Menashé repitió los movimientos con cada uno de los hermanos siguientes: Simeón, Leví, Judá, Gad, Asher, Yisajar, Zebulun, Dan y Naftalí. Los hermanos se relajaron, sintiendo que estaban siendo probados inocente de esta acusación injusta. Judá estaba más cauteloso, percibiendo problemas.

Menashé clavó su espada en el costal de Benjamín. Un “clink” se escuchó claramente cuando el metal del puñal tocó otro metal. Menashé hundió su mano en la bolsa de granos y reveló triunfante la copa de plata del Virrey.

Los hermanos se quedaron sin aliento. Rasgaron sus vestiduras en señal de pena. Benjamín no podía creerlo. Simeón susurró con rabia:

—Ladrón, ¡hijo de una ladrona! Al igual que tu madre era una pequeña bandida, así has salido.

Simeón siempre fue el más áspero, Benjamín intentó luchar contra su desesperación. No puedo dejar que ponga a mis otros hermanos en contra mío.

—No me hables de mentiras y juegos sucios —Benjamín siseó—. ¿Acaso fui yo el que vendió a José como esclavo? ¿Quién engañó a nuestro Padre? No presumas mostrar justicia conmigo, Simeón. Soy tan libre de culpa de este robo como lo estoy de la venta de José. Esto no es obra mía.

—No tengo por qué soportar una disputa familiar —Menashé interrumpió—. ¡Tú, Benjamín! Ven conmigo. Voy a ser un firme maestro, mi nuevo esclavo. El resto de ustedes pueden retirarse.

Esto es todo. Este es el momento de la verdad. ¿Acaso mis hermanos traicionarán nuevamente a un hijo de Rachel? ¿Mostrarán que aún son unos hermanastros celosos?

Nadie se movió. Los hermanos miraron fijamente a Menashé y luego de nuevo a Benjamín. No parecieron reaccionar ante la situación.

—¿Están podridos sus cerebros, hebreos? —Menashé gruñó—. ¿No me han oído? Aléjense de mi esclavo, así puedo tomar lo que me pertenece por ley. El resto de ustedes son libres de irse.

¡No me dejen! Benjamín les quería hablar con el pensamiento. ¡Si me dejan, todos vamos a caer! Voy a convertirme en un esclavo, Padre moriría de la angustia y la familia se vendría abajo. No dejen que la familia de Israel termine antes de haber comenzado.

Menashé hizo señas a sus tropas y el anillo de lanzas se hizo más fuerte alrededor de los hermanos. Instintivamente, los hermanos rodearon a Benjamín en una formación más cerrada, cada uno con su espalda hacia el menor, de cara a los soldados.

Mis hermanos están conmigo. Benjamín se sintió esperanzado.

Las lanzas se abrieron y señalaron hacia el norte.

—¡Hijos de Jacobo! —Menashé comandó—. Ahora están interfiriendo en mi negocio. Por favor, dejen a mi nuevo esclavo. Supongo que no quieren hacer problemas con mis tropas. Además, si alguna vez quieren comprar más grano de Egipto, le recomiendo que dejen todo esto inmediatamente, sin más demora o resistencia.

No me dejen. Benjamin oró. ¡Judá, por favor, debes decir algo!

—Todos vamos a regresar con Benjamín —Judá dijo, parándose alto.

—Eso no es necesario ni preferible —Menashé respondió, tratando de ocultar una sonrisa.

—Sin embargo, insistimos —Judá reafirmó—. Vamos a ir juntos, o usted tendrá una pequeña pelea en sus manos.

Al escuchar esas palabras todos los hijos de Jacobo dieron un paso hacia adelante, con sus espadas desenfundadas. Las lanzas se movieron hacia atrás con aprensión.

—No voy a correr el riesgo de dañar mi nueva adquisición —Menashé estaba sorprendido por la determinación de los hebreos—. Los escoltaremos a todos ustedes de nuevo hasta el Virrey, donde él decidirá a su juicio.

Con otro movimiento de la mano de Menashé, las lanzas se abrieron camino hacia el sur y se cerraban en la parte norte, empujando a los hermanos de vuelta a la ciudad.

—Nosotros no te abandonaremos —Judá le susurró a Benjamín—. Nunca te abandonaremos. Nunca más volveremos a traicionar a un hermano.

Y luego, en voz baja y para sí mismo, Judá continuó: ya he cometido ese error una vez.