by Rabbi Dovid Green
This week's parsha begins at the peak of the dramatic saga of Yosef and his
brothers. Yosef frames Binyomin, and he is now to remain in Egypt as a slave
to Yosef. Yehudah is responsible for Binyomin, and is determined to have him
back at any cost. He approaches Yosef and begins a monologue which leads up
to Yosef revealing himself to his brothers.
The Sfas Emes (Rabbi Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter, the spiritual leader of the
Gerer Chassidic dynasty, 19th century) explains this in a different light.
Although we always understand scriptures in their plain meaning, there are
many different levels of meaning in the Torah. They are no less valid. He
states that in everything in this world there is a degree of holiness, which
is the divine life-force which sustains it. Nothing is void of this deep
internal point of sanctity. The goal is to find it and connect with it. How
do we do it? We see the way through Yehudah's approach to Yosef.
And Yehudah approached him, and he said "Please, my master, let your servant
speak a word in the ears of my master." "Please my master" is the meaning of
the Hebrew words pronounced "bee adonee". The words really mean "my master
is in me", but it is an idiomatic phrase commonly used as an expression of
request. According to the interpretation of the Sfas Emes, it should be
understood plainly, "my master is in me". Everyone has holiness from The
Creator in him. Finding it depends on the amount of effort one is willing to
expend in finding it. Yehudah, and his brothers were ready to take Binyomin
at any cost. It was do or die at this point. They were in a state of
complete abandonment to this goal.
At the point that nothing else mattered more than getting back Binyomin, and
the brothers were willing to give everything for it, then Yosef reveals
himself to them. At that point "Yosef" is no longer able to hold back, and
he who was seen as a foreigner and a threat, is recognized as a brother.
When we take the position of Yehudah and his brothers, and we abandon
ourselves to finding our true essence (represented by Yosef) with a
determination, then it reveals itself to us, just as Yosef did to his
brothers. Living daily with the belief that "bee adonee", my master is in
me, changes our approach to life. It gives one a respect and awe for the
entire creation, including oneself.
Our collective goal in life is bring to realization that "my master is in
me". We only see the "clothing" of the soul of the universe. The more we
internalize the attitude, the closer we become with that reality.
Text Copyright © 1996 Rabbi Dovid Green and
Project Genesis, Inc.