Home Subscribe Services Support Us
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Vayigash

Piecing Together the Jigsaw Puzzle

This week's Parsha continues the gripping narrative of Yosef as he continues the drama of targeting his brothers as dishonest people, threatening to take Binyomin hostage in a trumped-up charge that he stole the viceroys special goblet.

The story reaches a climax when the brothers plead desperately with Yosef for Binyomin's release. Finally, when tension has reached the breaking point, Yosef lowers the veil of the unrelenting ruler and reveals his true identity, announcing, "I am Yosef, who you sold as a slave to Egypt." The brothers are dumbfounded. Suddenly, understanding dawns. The string of bizarre events befalling them in Egypt makes sense.

Many commentaries touch upon an interesting point. Why did Yosef have to rub salt on their wounds at this particular moment? He could have simply said "I am Yosef," without reminding them of their past cruelty to him? The brothers certainly knew that they had sold him to Egypt. Why did he have to remind them of their treachery when he was about to try to reconcile with them?

The famous commentator, the Sfas Emes, offers the following insight. As Yosef revealed his true identity, the brothers were undoubtedly stricken with grief. The first stab of guilt was over having torn Yosef away form their father's lap at a tender age. Although Yosef had obviously survived despite his immersion in Egyptian society, who knows how much spiritual poison it had infected him with? Had he remained under his father's tutelage, who could tell what heights he might have reached!

Yosef reassured them on this score. I am Yosef, the person I was intended to become, he told them. Had I not been forced through the ordeal of being sold as a slave and having to rise above the decadence of Egyptian society I would not be Yosef. I could never have accomplished what I needed to accomplish; I would never have risen to the spiritual heights that I have attained. I only fulfilled my life mission by enduring the difficult trials to which I was subjected. Only because my faith was tested did my true mettle emerge. I am Yosef precisely because you sold me to Egypt!

Reflecting on the difficult trials we all face in our lives, this is a powerful message to keep in mind. The harrowing and inscrutable situations that test our moral and spiritual fiber will ultimately come together as a beautiful mosaic. Rather than succumbing to questioning the purpose of this or that challenge, or complaining that we don't deserve a particular hardship, let us fortify ourselves with the knowledge that Hashem will ultimately reveal Himself and the pieces to His Divine plan will become clear. All the bitter and bewildering events will be part of a wondrous revelation. Let us use all of our spiritual resources to keep our faith intact.

Wishing you a warm and wonderful Shabbos,

Rabbi Naftali Reich

Text Copyright 2012 by Rabbi Naftali Reich and

Rabbi Reich is on the faculty of the Ohr Somayach Tanenbaum Education Center.



View Complete List

Shlomo Katz - 5773

The World of Learning
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Development of a Visionary
Rabbi Asher Breatross - 5756

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Garments of Betrayal
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Home Alone: The Original
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

Nothing Hurts More...
Shlomo Katz - 5759

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Holy Eyes
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

New Shoes for Old Souls
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

Passive Action, Part 1
PLUS A Quick Review of the Laws of Chanukah

Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764


Festival of The Reflecting Lights
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Oh Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

G-d's Plans Will Happen
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

> Thank Goodness for Small Miracles
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

The Lost Jewel
Shlomo Katz - 5774

Thanks for What?
Shlomo Katz - 5774

How Yosef Got His Job
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5774

Project Genesis Home

Torah Portion

Jewish Law



Learn the Basics




Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base


About Us

Contact Us

Free Book on Geulah! Home Copyright Information