Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Vayigash

Uneasy Questions

Volume 3 Issue 11

In most surprising ending in a Biblical saga, 11 men stood before their youngest brother, Yoseph, humiliated and threatened. Yoseph, in his role as viceroy of Egypt, had incarcerated Binyamin and left his siblings fighting him for his release. Otherwise, they would have to answer an aging father who would certainly die if Binyamin would not come home. They pleaded, begged and cajoled -- then they threatened to go to war over Binyamin. Yoseph is impressed.

Suddenly he reveals himself as the brother they had sold to slavery 22 years ago.

"I am Yoseph," he declares. "Is my father still alive?" The brothers stood in shock and disbelief.

Many commentaries ask why Yoseph asked a question when he knew the answer. His brothers spoke all along about their father and the anguish he would sustain lest Binyamin not be returned to him.

What message was Yoseph sending?

A man walked into the office of Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn with tears flowing down his cheeks. "Rebbe," he pleaded, "I need your help. I have no means of supporting my family, and my wife has gone into severe depression as the doctors suspect one of our children may have leukemia. I am at the verge of bankruptcy and only despair looms on the horizon."

The Rebbe's sympathy was obvious. Quickly he took all the money that he had in his desk and then summoned his sexton. "Have you any cash on you?" the Rebbe asked. "I need whatever you can spare to help a Jew in trouble."

The gabbai (sexton) responded to his mentor's request and handed the sum of nearly $2,000 to the Rebbe.

After the indigent man left the house the Gabbai innocently asked the Rebbe, "That was not for the man who just left here -- or was it?"

"Surely," exclaimed the Rebbe. He has nine children, including one who may be very ill. His wife is on the verge of a breakdown and he is in a state of despair."

"Despair?" exclaimed the sexton. "Nine children? That man has two kids, a wife who shops nicely on the Avenue and makes a modest living. Things may be a little tight -- but he's not at all desperate!

"You mean his wife is not ill?"

"No!"

"His child is not ill?"

"No!"

He is not even going bankrupt?"

"By no means!"

"Wonderful," the Rebbe smiled, "I could not bear to hear the pain of such terrible news. How good is it to hear that one less Jew is suffering." The next day the Rebbe called in his Gabbai and returned the $2,000 he had borrowed from him.

In revealing himself to his brothers, Yoseph had choice words to tell them. He could have chided them, taunted them and called their misdeeds upon them. He didn't. All he wanted to know is, "How is father feeling? Is it really true that he survived the tragedy of my sale? Is he still able to come see me?"

Often when we are wronged we have opportunities to harp on the conduct of those who harmed us. In his opening revelation Yoseph didn't. He picked up the pieces. He did not choose to discuss the past deeds that were dead and gone. He just wanted to speak about the future, his father, and his destiny.

Good Shabbos ©1996 Rabbi Mordecai Kamenetzky

Text Copyright © 1996 by Rabbi M. Kamenetzky and Project Genesis, Inc.

The author is the Associate Dean of the Yeshiva of South Shore.

Drasha is the e-mail edition of FaxHomily, a weekly torah facsimile on the weekly portion
which is sponsored by The Henry and Myrtle Hirsch Foundation


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

Nourishment for the Soul
Shlomo Katz - 5760

The Excitement of Every Day
Shlomo Katz - 5775

Not Just Despite, but Because of!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Certain Things Noach Did Not Have To Worry About
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5775

Sins Committed In Private Ultimately Lead To a Violent Society
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

The Sign of the Olive
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

> Investing in the Land
Shlomo Katz - 5767

A Place To Be
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5775

Internal Beliefs Have External Effects
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Wasted Tragedy
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5762

Positive Speech Builds a Brighter World
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

Unity and Conformity
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

ArtScroll

Wine and Window Washers
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

Parshas Noach
Shlomo Katz - 5772

What Was Noach's Greatest Legacy?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

Immorality Around Us
Shlomo Katz - 5759



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information