Contributed by: Rabbi Haim Shaul
In this week's Parasha, we read the Yaakov descended to Egypt with his family. Our sages tell us that the famine that was to last for seven years ended after only two years because Yaakov's arrival brought a blessing to the country.
Apparently, the purpose of the famine was to bring Yaakov to Egypt in order to fulfill the prophecy given to Abraham Avinou, that his descendants would be enslaved in a foreign land.
However, the Torah goes into great detail to describe how that wealth of the entire country and surrounding nations came to be concentrated in Pharaoh's hands. Why?
The Zohar explains that he famine had also another less obvious purpose. The Jewish people were destined to leave Egypt with great wealth. Where did that wealth come from? The Zohar writes that a key purpose of the famine was to bring wealth to Egypt in order to fulfill Hashem's other promise to Abraham that "Afterwards (the slavery) they shall leave with great wealth." This explains the transference of wealth that would eventually be given to Am Yisrael.