Aliya Summary: The famine predicted by Joseph commenced, a grave famine that affected Egypt and the entire Mediterranean region. Exactly as planned, Joseph had sufficient stores of food, which he personally sold to all who needed. Meanwhile, in nearby Canaan, Joseph’s father, Jacob, dispatched his eldest ten sons – all of them excepting Benjamin – to Egypt to purchase food provisions. The brothers arrived and stood before Joseph, but did not recognize him, as his boyish appearance had changed in the interim years. When the brothers broached their request to purchase food, Joseph dealt with them harshly, accused them of espionage, and incarcerated them all for three days.
The Gemara in Taanit says that Yaakov and family were still well-supplied with food at this stage in the famine. Yet he sent them to Egypt, rather than provoke the jealousy of others with less. When others have not, it is improper to flaunt what you have.