Sedra VaYiGush, Yosef the Despot?
the land was exhausted due to the famine [47:13]
Yosef collected all the money in Egypt and surrounding countries [47:14] as payment for food [Rashi]
there was no money left and the people were desperate for food [47:15]
so Yosef demanded they pay with their cattle [47:16]
they said, “we have no money, we have no beasts; we have only our lives and our land” [47:18]
“take possession of us and our land in order that we live” [47:19]
Yosef took ownership of all Egypt’s land in Paroh’s name [47:20]
Yosef [owned the people and he] relocated the entire population from their homes and suburbs to distant locations [47:21]
Yosef wanted to ensure that in later years, the people would not be able to make any claims about being the original owners. [Rashi 47:21]
The Torah records this information in order to praise Yosef – who was motivated to protect his brothers from being labelled as refugees and foreigners by the locals who were now themselves landless and unsecured. [Rashi 47:21]
Was this the action of a despot or the greatest programme in education? For what better teaches than the experience of poverty and vulnerability?