Below are the final texts that children are exploring during our Yosef (Joseph) theme:

Nursery and Kindergarten version:

בְּרֵאשִׁית מג Genesis 43

(Remember that there’s not enough food right now, because the land isn’t growing enough. The brothers went to Egypt and bought food from Yosef. They didn’t know he was their brother. Now the brothers and their father, Ya’akov, are almost out of food again.) 

Their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little more to eat.”

Yehuda said to him, “If you (Ya’akov) will send our brother Binyamin with us we can go down to Egypt and buy you some food. But if you won’t send Binyamin, we won’t go down to Egypt, because the man said to us, ‘Don’t come here if your brother isn’t with you.” 

Their father said, “Why did you tell the man that you had another brother?”

They said, “The man asked us all about our family! We didn’t know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down to Egypt’!”

Yehuda said to Yisrael, his father, “Send the boy with me. I promise to bring him back to you.”

So the brothers took Binyamin and went back down to Egypt and went to Yosef. They bowed down to the ground to him. Yosef saw Binyamin. And then Yosef hurried out, because he loved his brother so much, and he needed to cry. So Yosef went into his room and he cried there. 

Then he washed his face and went back out. The brothers ate at a table, and Yosef ate a separate table. Yosef had all of the brothers sit in order, with the oldest brother first and the youngest brother last. They brothers were very surprised, but they still didn’t know he was Yosef. Binyamin got more than anyone else.

בְּרֵאשִׁית מה Genesis 45

Then Yosef couldn’t control himself anymore. He sent everyone else out of the room so he was alone with his brothers. He cried so loudly. 

Yosef said to his brothers, “I am Yosef, is my father still alive?” But his brothers couldn’t say anything to him, because they were so surprised he was Yosef. 

Yosef said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” They came closer. 

He said, “I am Yosef, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. Don’t be sad or angry with yourselves because you sold me here. God sent me here to save everyone from the famine (from being too hungry).”

Yosef told his brothers to go back to their father, and to tell him that Yosef was still alive and in charge of Egypt, next to Par’oh. 

Par’oh said he would give them good land in Egypt. He told them to take wagons and bring everyone to Egypt. The family would live close together with their children and their grandchildren and all their animals, and Yosef would protect them from being hungry. Yosef hugged and kissed his brother Binyamin and all of his brothers, and they talked together.

The brothers went back to Cana’an and told their father what had happened. They took their animals and all their things which they had gotten in the land of Cana’an, and they all went to Egypt. 

1st-3rd grade version:

Genesis 43

1. The famine in the land was very bad. Once they finished eating the grain which they had brought back from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little more to eat.”

3. Yehuda said to him, “The man really warned us, ‘If your brother isn’t with you, you won’t see my face again.’ If you (Ya’akov) will send our brother with us we can go down and buy you some food. But if you won’t send [him], we won’t go down to Egypt.” 

6. Yisrael said, “Why did you cause this problem for me by telling the man that you had another brother?”

7. They said, “The man asked us all about our family! How could we possibly know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’?”

8. Yehuda said to Yisrael, his father, “Send the boy with me. I will make a promise and have the responsibility for him. If I don’t bring him back, I will bear the blame for it forever. Because, if we hadn’t kept waiting around, delaying, we could have been back twice by now.”

11. Their father Yisrael said to them, “If this is how it has to be, then fine, do this: bring a gift for the man.” 

So they brought Binyamin and the gifts and went back down to Egypt. 

When they had been brought in to Yosef’s house and gotten cleaned up and ready, and they had given Yosef the gifts, they bowed down to the ground to him.

27. Yosef asked them how they were, and said, “How is your old father, that you spoke about? Is he still alive?” They said, “We are fine, and so is our father. He’s still alive.” And they nodded and bowed. 

29. He [Yosef] lifted his eyes up and saw Binyamin, his brother, the son of his mother. He said, “Is that your youngest brother that you told me about? May God be kind to you, my son.” And then Yosef hurried out, because his love for his brother burned inside of him, and he needed to cry. So he went into his room and he cried there. 

31. Then he washed his face and went back out, and kept himself under control, and he said, “Set out the meal.” 

32. They set out his separately, and theirs separately, and they also set it out separately for the Egyptians who were eating with him, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews; the Egyptians thought it was a wrong thing to do. 

33. And they sat before him, the first-born in the first place and the youngest at the young end. They looked at each other, and they were very, very surprised. They each got servings, but Binyamin’s serving was bigger than everyone else’s serving; five times more. They drank a lot with Yosef. 

Genesis 44

Then, Yosef made the man from his house put his silver cup into Binyamin’s bag without anyone knowing. The next morning, when the brothers left, Yosef sent the man after them, and told him to ask why they had stolen something special, since Yosef had been good to them. When the men caught up to them and asked them, they said that they didn’t take anything, and he could search their bags. They said if anyone had the cup that person would die, and the rest of them would become slaves. The man said, “The rest of you will go free, but the person who has it will become a slave.”

11. Each one quickly put down their bag on the ground and each one opened his bag. And the man searched, beginning from the oldest, and last to the youngest. And they found the cup in Binyamin’s bag. 

13. They tore their clothes. Yehuda and his brothers went to Yosef’s house. They threw themselves down onto the ground in front of him. 

15. Yosef said, “What is this thing you have done?”

16. Yehuda said, “What can we say? How can we speak, or make ourselves right? We will all be your servants, both us and the one in whose hand the cup was found. 

17. Yosef said, “Certainly I wouldn’t do such a thing. The one in whose bag the cup was found will be my servant; the rest of you can go up peacefully to your father.” 

18. Yehuda came up closer to him and said, “My lord, please let me speak to you and do not get angry, for you’re almost like Par’oh.”

Yehuda told him again everything that happened since they first came to Egypt. Yehuda reminded Yosef that they told him they couldn’t bring Binyamin because Ya’akov loved him so much, but he made them bring him down anyway. Yehuda asked Yosef to take him as a prisoner instead of Binyamin, because if they came home without Binyamin their father would die. And Yehuda had promised to be responsible for him.

34. Yehuda said, “How could I go to my father and have the boy not with me? I couldn’t. I’d have to see the suffering come upon my father.” 

Genesis 45

1. Then Yosef couldn’t control himself with all of them standing there in front of him. He called out, “Send everyone else away.” No one else was standing there when he revealed to his brothers who he was. He cried so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and Par’oh’s house heard it. 

3. Yosef said to his brothers, “I am Yosef, is my father still alive?” But his brothers couldn’t answer him, because they were so shocked at his being there. Yosef said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” They came closer. 

He said, “I am Yosef your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5. Now, don’t be sad or angry with yourselves because you sold me here. It was to save lives that God sent me here before you. Because there has been a famine in the land for two years, and for another five years there won’t be any plowing or harvesting. 

7. God sent me before you to make sure you stay alive, and to keep you alive for a great escape. It wasn’t really you, then, who sent me down here. It was God. God made me like a father to Par’oh, and a ruler over the whole land of Egypt. 

Yosef told them to go back to their father, and to tell him that Yosef was still alive and ruling over all of Egypt and that he should come down right away. Yosef told them they would all live in the land of Goshen, and the family would live close together with their children and their grandchildren and all their animals, and Yosef would protect them from the hunger. He hugged and kissed his brother Binyamin and all of his brothers, and they talked together.

Par’oh heard what was happening, and he agreed, and said he would give them good land in Egypt. He told them to take wagons and go bring everyone to Egypt. 

And Yosef gave them all clothes, and he gave extra clothes and lots of money to Binyamin. And he sent presents with them for his father.

25. They went up from Egypt and came to the land of Cana’an, to their father, Ya’akov. And they told him, “Yosef is still alive! And he’s ruling over the whole land of Egypt!” His heart almost stopped. He couldn’t believe them. But they told him everything about Yosef that he had told them. And he saw the wagons which Yosef sent to carry him in, and the spirit of Ya’akov their father came back to life. Yisra’el said, “Enough! My son Yosef still lives. I have to go see him before I die.”

Chapter 46

1. And Yisra’el journeyed out with everything that he owned, and the sons of Israel carried their father Ya’akov, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Par’oh had sent to carry him. They took their animals and all their things which they had gotten in the land of Cana’an, and they came into Egypt: Ya’akov and all his family with him. His sons and grandsons, daughters and granddaughters, and all his family– he brought them all with him into Egypt.

4th-5th grade version:

Genesis 43

1. The famine in the land was very bad. Once they finished eating the grain which they had brought back from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little more to eat.”

3. Yehuda said to him, “The man really warned us, ‘If your brother isn’t with you, you won’t see my face again.’ If you (Ya’akov) will send our brother with us we can go down and buy you some food. But if you won’t send [him], we won’t go down, because the man said to us, ‘You won’t see my face if your brother isn’t with you.” 

6. Yisrael said, “Why did you cause this problem for me by telling the man that you had another brother?”

7. They said, “The man asked us all about our family! ‘Is your father still alive?’ ‘Do you have a brother?’ We just told him those things. How could we possibly know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’?”

8. Yehuda said to Yisrael, his father, “Send the boy with me. We’ll get up and go, and we will all live and not die– us, and you, and all our little ones, too. 

9. I will make a promise and have the responsibility for him. If I don’t bring him back and set him before you, I will bear the blame for it forever. Because, if we hadn’t kept waiting around, delaying, we could have been back twice by now. 

11. Their father Yisrael said to them, “If this is how it has to be, then fine, do this: take some of the best things that the earth grows in your jars. Bring a gift for the man.” 

So they brought Binyamin and the gifts and went back down to Egypt and stood before Yosef. 

16. When Yosef saw them and Binyamin with them, he said to the man who took care of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and you must kill an animal and be ready, because the men will eat with me at noon.” The man did what Yosef said, and brought the men into Yosef’s house.

Now, the men were very afraid because they thought they were in trouble because of the money they found in their bags. They explained to Yosef what had happened, and how they didn’t mean to take the money, and how they had brought it back to him and brought more money so they could buy more food.

23. He [Yosef] replied, “Be at peace. Don’t be afraid. It must have been your God, the God of your father, who put treasure in your bags, because I got your silver.” And he returned Shimon to them. 

When they had been brought in to Yosef’s house and gotten cleaned up and ready, and they had given Yosef the gifts, they bowed down to the ground to him.

27. He asked them how they were, and said, “How is your old father, that you spoke about? Is he still alive?” They said, “We are fine, and so is our father. He’s still alive.” And they nodded and bowed. 

29. He [Yosef] lifted his eyes up and saw Binyamin, his brother, the son of his mother. He said, “Is that your youngest brother that you told me about? May God be kind to you, my son.” And then Yosef hurried out, because his love for his brother burned inside of him, and he needed to cry. So he went into his room and he cried there. 

31. Then he washed his face and went back out, and kept himself under control, and he said, “Set out the meal.” 

32. They set out his separately, and theirs separately, and they also set it out separately for the Egyptians who were eating with him, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews; the Egyptians thought it was a wrong thing to do. 

33. And they sat before him, the first-born in the first place and the youngest at the young end. They looked at each other, truly surprised. They each got servings, but Binyamin’s serving was bigger than everyone else’s serving; five times more. They drank a lot with him. 

Genesis 44

Then, Yosef made the man from his house put his silver cup into Binyamin’s bag without anyone knowing. The next morning, when the brothers left, Yosef sent the man after them, and told him to ask why they had stolen something special, since Yosef had been good to them. When the men caught up to them and asked them, they said that they didn’t take anything, and he could search their bags. They said if anyone had the cup that person would die, and the rest of them would become slaves. The man said, “The rest of you will go free, but the person who has it will become a slave.”

11. Each one quickly put down their bag on the ground and each one opened his bag. And the man searched, beginning from the oldest, and last to the youngest. And they found the cup in Binyamin’s bag. 

13. They tore their clothes. Each one packed his donkey back up, and they turned back toward the city. Yehuda and his brothers went to Yosef’s house, and he was still there. They threw themselves down onto the ground in front of him. 

15. Yosef said, “What is this thing you have done? Didn’t you know that men like me will see visions?”

16. Yehuda said, “What can we say to my lord? How can we speak, or make ourselves right? God has found the bad deed of your servants. Oh, הִנֶּנּוּ hinenu, we are my lord’s servants [Yosef’s servants], both us and the one in whose hand the cup was found. 

17. Yosef said, “Certainly I wouldn’t do such a thing. The one in whose hand the cup was found will be my servant; the rest of you can go up peacefully to your father.” 

18. Yehuda came up closer to him and said, “My lord, let me, your servant, speak to you, and do not get angry at your servant, for you’re almost like Par’oh.”

Then Yehuda told him again everything that happened since they first came to Egypt and Yosef had told them to bring Binyamin down to Egypt to see him. Yehuda reminded Yosef that they told him they couldn’t bring Binyamin because Ya’akov loved him so much, but he made them bring him down anyway.

27. Yehuda told him, “Your servant my father said to us, “You know how my wife had two sons with me. One went away from me and I said he must have been all eaten up and since then I never saw him again. If you take this one away from me too, and something terrible happens to him, you will send my gray hair down into death.”

Yehuda asked Yosef to take him as a prisoner instead of Binyamin, because his father’s soul was woven together with Binyamin’s soul, and if they came home without Binyamin their father would die. And Yehuda had promised to be responsible for him.

34. Yehuda said, “How could I go to my father and have the boy not with me? I couldn’t. I’d have to see the suffering come upon my father.”

Genesis 45

1. Then Yosef couldn’t control himself with all of them standing there in front of him. He called out, “Send everyone else away.” No one else was standing there when he revealed to his brothers who he was. He cried so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and Par’oh’s house heard it. 

3. Yosef said to his brothers, “I am Yosef, is my father still alive?” But his brothers couldn’t answer him, because they were so shocked at his being there. Yosef said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” They came closer. 

He said, “I am Yosef your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5. Now, don’t be sad or angry with yourselves because you sold me here. It was to save lives that God sent me here before you. Because there has been a famine in the land for two years, and for another five years there won’t be any plowing or harvesting. 

7. God sent me before you to make sure some of you were left on earth, and to keep you alive for a great escape. It wasn’t really you, then, who sent me down here. It was God. God made me like a father to Par’oh, and a ruler over the whole land of Egypt. 

Yosef told them to go back to their father, and to tell him that Yosef was still alive and ruling over all of Egypt and that he should come down right away. Yosef told them they would all live in the land of Goshen, and the family would live close together with their children and their grandchildren and all their animals, and Yosef would protect them from the hunger. He hugged and kissed his brother Binyamin and all of his brothers, and they talked together.

Par’oh heard what was happening, and he agreed, and said he would give them good land in Egypt. He told them to take wagons and go bring everyone to Egypt. 

And Yosef gave them all clothes, and he gave extra clothes and lots of money to Binyamin. And he sent presents with them for his father.

25. They went up from Egypt and came to the land of Cana’an, to their father, Ya’akov. And they told him, “Yosef is still alive! And he’s ruling over the whole land of Egypt!” His heart almost stopped. He couldn’t believe them. But they told him everything about Yosef that he had told them. And he saw the wagons which Yosef sent to carry him in, and the spirit of Ya’akov their father came back to life. Yisra’el said, “Enough! My son Yosef still lives. I have to go see him before I die.”

Chapter 46

1. And Yisra’el journeyed out with everything that he owned. When he came to Be’er Shava בְּאֵר שָּׁבַע, he made sacrifices to the God of his father Yitzchak. And God spoke to Yisra’el in visions in the nighttime, and said “Ya’akov, Ya’akov!” And he said, “הִנֵּנִי Hineni (I am here).” 

3. He said, “I am the God of your father. Don’t be afraid to go down into Egypt, because I will make you into a big nation. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will bring you up again. And Yosef’s own hand will close your eyes when you die [Yosef will be with you for the rest of your life].”
5. Ya’akov left Be’er Shava בְּאֵר שָּׁבַע, and the sons of Israel carried their father Ya’akov, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Par’oh had sent to carry him. They took their animals and all their things which they had gotten in the land of Cana’an, and they came into Egypt: Ya’akov and all his family with him. His sons and grandsons, daughters and granddaughters, and all his family– he brought them all with him into Egypt.