Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Miketz

Vengeance vs. Conciliations

Joseph's first dream comes to realization in this week's parsha. His brothers come down to Egypt and prostrate themselves before him. The dream of the sheaves of the brothers bowing to Joseph's sheaf is at last fulfilled. But strangely, Joseph does not feel himself satisfied. It is human nature that the expectation of the realization of events is always greater and more exciting than the fulfillment of the realization itself. No vacation or event that we plan for ourselves can live up to our imagination and expectation regarding it. And Joseph is further burdened by the enormity of what has transpired. He has the brothers, who sold him as a slave and were deaf to his shouts and tears and pleas for mercy, in his hands. But what is he to do with them now? And what of his beloved father, the old man, broken in grief, whom he has not seen or communicated with for twenty-two years? Are the brothers telling him the truth about his father's condition? And what about Benjamin, his younger brother? Is he like the other brothers in attitude and belief or is he different? Does he mourn for his lost brother Joseph or is he sanguine about his fate, as his ten older brothers seem to be? All of these questions plague Joseph at the moment of his seemingly great triumph when his brothers are in his power and abjectly bow before him. His triumph therefore seems somewhat hollow to him at that moment.

Joseph comes to the great realization that his ultimate triumph over his brothers lies not in punishing them - though he will certainly cause them great anguish on their road of repentance - but rather to eventually conciliate them. Vengeance is momentarily more satisfying than is conciliation. But in the long run, vengeance lies not in human hands. And it will only continue to widen the rift within Jacob's family. Joseph's greatness and heroism lies in the fact that he chose the road of healing and conciliation rather than that of punishment and vengeance. Joseph, out of all of the avot and the brothers is called tzadik - righteous and holy. This is certainly due to his behavior in escaping from the clutches of Potiphar's wife. But Joseph's righteousness and piety is exhibited not only in that incident. It is apparent in his treatment of his brothers after his dream of their bowing down to him has been realized. He will protect his brothers from the Pharaoh and the ravages of Egyptian society. He will support them physically, financially and spiritually for the rest of his life. He still weeps at the gulf of suspicion that yet exists between him and the brothers. Conciliation is a long and difficult road to traverse. But Joseph realizes that it is the only hope for his family's continuity and purpose.

In the rough and tumble of Jewish and Israeli politics, organizational life and competitive societal forces, the temptation for excluding others and even punishing them is very strong. But the lesson of Joseph should remain instructional to all of us today as well. A Jewish society that can cast away old hatreds and feuds and truly attempt to be conciliatory one to another will certainly be stronger and holier in purpose and action. In this respect, we should all profit from and attempt to emulate Joseph's wisdom and course of behavior.

Shabat shalom.
Rabbi Berel Wein


Text Copyright 2004 by Rabbi Berel Wein and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

Bordering on the Holy Land
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Defying Natural Order
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5774

Count Us If You Can
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

ArtScroll

Enduring Lesson
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

Jews vs. Judaism
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

The Eternal Port of Entry
Rabbi Label Lam - 5775

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Long Distance Call
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

Out of This World
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

There's No Place Like Away From Home...
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

You Shall Live by Them
Shlomo Katz - 5758

No Pain, No Gain
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

The Treaty
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

> From Egypt to Israel
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

Lech-Lecha #1 or Lech-Lecha #2 Which is the harder test?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

The Unique Level of Avraham
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763

The Deeds of the Patriachs
Shlomo Katz - 5772



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