Torah.org 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 Torah.org.

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


 






ARTICLES ON VAYEITZEI AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Shadowy Existence
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Growing Forever
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

Good and Bad Company
Shlomo Katz - 5768

> Light Over Darkness
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5768

The 'Luz' Bone
Shlomo Katz - 5773

Accompanying Angles
Shlomo Katz - 5759

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Departure of the 'Tent Dweller'
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

It's Good For You
Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden - 5763

The Triumph of Quality Over Quantity
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Nice Guys Finish Second -- Second in Command to Pharoah
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

The Kedusha of Galus - Thinking in Parallel
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

Anti-Semitism: The Original Source
Shlomo Katz - 5764

ArtScroll

Leah's Eyes
Shlomo Katz - 5758

Hey, Looks Like Supper!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

Suffering From Success
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

To Achieve Your Goals and not Cause Jealousy
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770



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