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11 Tevet 5784 - December 23, 2023

Parshat Vayigash

Rabbi's Reflections

-Insights from Pharaoh: Yosef and Belonging-

When Pharaoh receives word that Yosef and his brothers have been reunited, he is elated, as it says, “The news was heard in Pharaoh’s palace, saying, ‘Yosef’s brothers have come!’ And it was pleasing in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of his servants” (Bereshit 45:16). Why was Pharaoh so glad to hear that Yosef’s family arrived in Egypt? According to the Ramban, “Yosef told Pharaoh that he had honorable brothers in the land of the Hebrews…For it was a disgrace to [the Egyptians] to be ruled by a stranger, a servant…and now when his honorable brothers came to him, and it became known that Yosef was worthy to stand before kings, they all rejoiced in the matter.” In other words, Yosef’s standing in Egyptian society was tolerated but never fully accepted. Despite all of the good he had done for Egypt and the tremendous power he wielded, Yosef was nevertheless perceived by Egyptian society, especially the nobility, as an outsider whose prisoner-slave stigma never completely dissipated. Indeed, while Yosef was viewed as the mastermind behind Egypt’s prosperity during the famine, he was also seen as something of a burden to Egypt, as they felt they had to be ruled by a man of such low degree.  Now, however, when Pharaoh heard that Yosef belonged to “Hebrew nobility,” he was overjoyed, because finally, Egypt could remove the stigma surrounding Yosef and claim that their viceroy is a man of distinguished birth. That is to say, with the coming of his brothers, Egypt could fully embrace Yosef.

The Sforno, however, tackles Pharaoh’s contentment at hearing the news of the family reunion from a slightly different angle. According to the Sforno, Pharaoh was aware that Yosef perceived himself as an outsider in Egypt. As a result, Pharaoh could see that Yosef never really gave “everything he had” to the country – he was always holding something back, always appearing aloof, anxious and reticent around others. Pharaoh needed Yosef to be fully invested in Egypt’s welfare, and so when he heard that his prized viceroy’s family had come, “He reasoned that if Yosef’s family settled there, he could have more of a stake in the country’s welfare and would perform his duties more diligently.” In other words, Pharaoh understood that Yosef never truly felt at home in Egypt. Now that his family could be with him, though, he would finally be at ease, gain confidence, gain a sense of belonging and bring his whole self to his work. Thus, the news gladdened Pharaoh not because Egypt could now fully embrace Yosef, but because now Yosef could fully embrace Egypt.

While it is true, Yosef’s staunch clinging to his Jewish identity is lauded by our tradition, so much so that the Exodus could not have happened without it, nevertheless, Pharaoh’s insight, at least according to the Sforno, illustrates an important lesson: We cannot fully be ourselves, we cannot fully give of ourselves unless we feel the support and presence of those we love most. In order for Yosef to effectively do his important work, he had to feel like he belonged, and Pharaoh knew that with the coming of his family, Yosef could find his natural, rightful place at long last.

This Shabbat, let us reflect on the idea that being with those we love most helps us be ourselves, give of ourselves and accomplish our goals. It is never easy feeling like we have to “go it alone.” We always lose or withhold something in that lonely process. Thus, surrounding ourselves with those who have our best interests at heart, whose values we share and whose love we can depend upon will never fail to enable us to do our best, be our best and achieve our missions. May we always feel the presence of our closest relations near to us, and may we lean on those loving shoulders to help us get through hard times, attain our aspirations and express ourselves in the truest of ways. 

Shabbat Shalom!

-Rabbi Dan

Schedule of Services at B'nai Abraham

Friday Night

Candle Lighting


Mincha & Kabbalat Shabbat





Youth Services










(Federal Holiday)



Tuesday - Friday



CTI Announcements

Join us on Sunday, January 14 from 5:00PM to 6:30PM at Congregation Tiferet Israel to learn about the vital work of the Ach Gadol (Big Brother) Lone Soldier Organization in Israel. 

Ach Gadol focuses on supporting Lone Soldiers during their IDF service. It does so through a unique mentorship model, pairing volunteers (all former Lone Soldiers) with those on active duty. Ach Gadol provides the young men and women with one-on-one personal guidance, essential support, and a life-long network. The ongoing war in Israel has brought considerable challenges for Lone Soldiers - and has made Ach Gadol’s work more meaningful, impactful, and necessary than ever.

We will have the honor of hearing from the CEO of Ach Gadol, Daniel Aharon, along with Maj. (Res.) Hadas, an Ethiopian and Bedouin officer of distinction, and Staff Sgt. (Res.) Vitaly, who spent three months fighting in Ukraine before drafting to IDF reserve duty in October, will share their unique experiences, including how the current war has impacted their lives and the lives of thousands of Lone Soldiers.

Admission is free, but we ask that people register in advance. Register Here!

Email Arthur Altman at if you have any questions.

Destigmatizing Suicide

Stan Zimmerman, writer for The Golden Girls, Roseanne, Gilmore Girls, brings to life the last words written in letters by individuals lost to suicide — including celebrities, veterans, kids that were bullied, LGBTQ, and the clinically depressed — and those who have survived suicide attempts. Since its acclaimed first performance at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2015, the play has traveled across the country, raising awareness and offering hope for suicide prevention.

January 20 - 7:30 PM

Doug Smith Performance Center

206 W 2nd Street Georgetown

*Talkback to follow

January 21 - 3:00 PM

Gloria & Harvey Evans Performance Center at the Dell JCC

Austin 7300 Hart Lane Austin

*Talkback to follow

*Tickets go on sale soon*

Tell America's Leaders to Stand with Israel!

Anti-Israel activists are calling members of Congress. Make your pro-Israel voice heard by calling your elected officials to make clear you stand with our ally Israel against Hamas terrorism!

Support Israel

Shalom Austin Emergency Campaign.


Friends of the Israel Defense Forces

Israel American Council

At War: Heal Israel Now

CTI Kiddush Krew

The CTI "Kiddush Krew" is looking for additional volunteers to help with our Shabbat kiddush efforts. Please contact Beth Shapiro through the kiddush contact form if you are interested in learning how you can help!

Thank you Malka Esther Roth for sponsoring Kiddush in honor of Birthdays of her son and grandchildren

- Rabbi Reuven, ZC, Eze, Bayle, Kiva, Zalmi,

Sarali (1 Year), Theo, and Miles.

A BIG THANK YOU to the CTI Community for stepping up to sponsor a Kiddush! Your sponsorships are much appreciated by all the CTI community who enjoy socializing with each other after services with a little cholent, some salads and a wide variety of yummy treats. 

If you would like to sponsor a kiddush in January, February (or beyond), please take a look at our calendar and reserve your spot! And THANK YOU for supporting CTI and our community with your sponsorship! Also a big thank you to the many people who help with kiddush prep and clean up!!! 

Sponsor A Kiddush

Mazel Tov!

  • Ester Smith Birthday on December 24
  • Hana Refaeli on December 26
  • Aaron Jackson on December 26

*Please update your shulcloud account with birthdays, anniversaries, and Yahrtzeits to make sure they're highlighted in the Spiel. If you have any questions on how to do so email*

Yahrtzeit Remembrances

  • Jack Weissbuch, Father of Loretta Magill, on Wednesday 15 Tevet

Torah Classes at CTI

Take Your Tanakh Series

Tuesday Night | 7:00pm - The Book of Isaiah

Wednesday Morning | 8:15am - The Book of Job

Click Here for more information on how to join these exciting classes.


Thank you to Eddie Selig and Jay Rubin for their aliyah donation.

Thank you to Morgen Rochard for his donation

to the Rabbi's Discretionary Fund.

Thank you to Katie and Marty Price for their donation to the General Fund.

Thank you to Harel and Ariella Rush for their donation in honor of Eric's birthday and a great chanukah with the family and congregation.

Thank you to Zvika Ramon for his donation in the

loving memory of his father Emanuel Ben Abraham.

Thank you to our anonymous donors.

Make a Donation

Contact Us!

Rabbi Dan Millner: 

Phone: 512-410-0336 X101

For more contact numbers and emails, visit our website.

Refuah Shelayma To:

  • Allene Novy-Portnoy; Hannah Bassa bat Sarah Osnat 
  • Avshalom ben Hannah Bassa
  • Cindy Newman 
  • Janet Goldberg; Shayna Masha bat Chasha Mina
  • Ken Friedman
  • Rebecca Millner; Rivkah bat Shoshana
  • Sheina Ruchel bat Henya Leah
  • Tzvi David ben Rivka Golda
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  • Sulta bat Nedgma
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  • Tamar bat Chaya
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  • HaRav Avram Meir ben Eli Yosef v'Shira Chanah.
  • Rabbi Harold Liebowitz, HaRav Chaim Alter ben Necha. 
  • Baruch Akiva Ben Rivka
  • Miriam bat Helen
  • Rivka Michal bat Sarah Chana
  • Lori Garza 
  • Yisroel Natan ben Sarah
  • Masha Gitil bas Chaya Yita
  • Allen Levinson; Avraham Yitzchak ben Gittel
  • Moshe ben Reizel
  • Avigail Malkah bat Devorah
  • David Moshe ben Sylvia
  • Shoshana bat Yocheved
  • Miriam bat Rachel v'Mordechai
  • Alta Shoshana bat Shulamit
  • Meir Psachia ben Tziril
  • Geni Berman Abitbol
  • Beilya Golda bat Leah
  • Yosef Yehoshua ben Sarah
  • Jonathan Malawer (Yosef ben Bracha)
  • Fivel ben Sarah HaLevi
  • Adam ben Chanah
  • Rafael ben Sheindal Leah
  • Aharon Asher ben Chaya Naomi
  • Esther Malka Fraida bat Serel Chaya Raiza
  • Esther Reva bat Malka
  • Avraham ben Rut
  • Sheva Eva bat Bella.
  • Moshe ben Rut
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  • Chandal bat Basia
  • Shmuel Dovid bat Malka
  • Anthony Ben Devorah
  • Shayna Leah bat Yehudit
  • Reuven ben Shira
  • Batyah bat Sara
  • Rachel Tzivia bat Malka
  • Chava Golda bat Leah
  • David Yosef ben Aga
  • Layla Tzohara bat Naomi Rivkeh
  • Shimon Yaakov ben Sarah

 Wishing all Cholei Yisrael a Refuah Shlayma. 

Dear Tiferet Friends, 

If you placed a name on the Refuah Shelayma list and G-d willing the person is well, 

please let us know. Also, if you have a friend or family member who needs 

prayers for healing, again please let us know at  

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