Friday, January 6, 2017

Judah's Eternal Message: Don't Cower! Torah Portion of the Week

This week's Torah Portion of the Week,  Vayigash, And he (Judah) approached..., is an eternal reminder for us:
Bereishit - Genesis - Chapter 44:1חוַיִּגַּשׁ אֵלָיו יְהוּדָה וַיֹּאמֶר 8 Then Judah approached him and said...
This act of Judah, Yehuda, showed his innate leadership quality. By following Judah's progression, the growth of his character from his public admission that he had impregnated his daughter-in-law Tamar and was the father of her twin sons, Peretz and Zerach. And then it was davka Judah's reassurance and pledge that his father Jacob accepted before sending Benjamen with the brothers to Egypt.

Bereishit - Genesis - Chapter 43:
8And Judah said to Israel, his father, "Send the lad with me, and we will get up and go, and we will live and not die, both we and you and also our young children.
חוַיֹּאמֶר יְהוּדָה אֶל יִשְׂרָאֵל אָבִיו שִׁלְחָה הַנַּעַר אִתִּי וְנָקוּמָה וְנֵלֵכָה וְנִחְיֶה וְלֹא נָמוּת גַּם אֲנַחְנוּ גַם אַתָּה גַּם טַפֵּנוּ:

9I will guarantee him; from my hand you can demand him. If I do not bring him to you and stand him up before you, I will have sinned against you forever.
טאָנֹכִי אֶעֶרְבֶנּוּ מִיָּדִי תְּבַקְשֶׁנּוּ אִם לֹא הֲבִיאֹתִיו אֵלֶיךָ וְהִצַּגְתִּיו לְפָנֶיךָ וְחָטָאתִי לְךָ כָּל הַיָּמִים:
Judah took his pledge very seriously and understood that he had to take charge. And it was this action that finally broke Joseph's mask and made him admit his true identity.

I want to go back to the birth of Judah, Leah's fourth son.
 Bereishit - Genesis - Chapter 29:35And she conceived again and bore a son, and she said, "This time, I will thank the Lord! Therefore, she named him Judah, and [then] she stopped bearing.
להוַתַּהַר עוֹד וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן וַתֹּאמֶר הַפַּעַם אוֹדֶה אֶת יְהֹוָה עַל כֵּן קָרְאָה שְׁמוֹ יְהוּדָה וַתַּעֲמֹד מִלֶּדֶת:
The Hebrew root of of Judah, Yehuda יהודה comes from "to thank." In the simple interpretation of the verse, it means that she thanked Gd that she had four sons, while at the same time, her sister didn't have any. Chazal, the wise men, say that she knew Jacob would have twelve sons, from four wives/women, and she now had more than a quarter of the sons.

But I'd like to go a bit further. If Leah knew that, then she also knew that the Kingship of the Jewish Nation would have to come from either her son or from one of Rachel's. And therefore when Judah was born, she knew that the kings would be descended from him, and that's why she thanked Gd and called her baby son  Judah, Yehuda יהודה, which also has the name of Gd.

And we do see how Judah did show a kingly confidence, which was trusted and recognized by his father Jacob. And then Judah had no problem confronting the Egyptian leader, Joseph, Rachel's son who buckled under Judah's words. And later on we see them sparring via their descendants, Saul and David.

A true leader doesn't cower.

Gd willing we will soon see one here in Israel, speedily in our day...

Lion of Judah


Anonymous said...

This is the beauty of Yehudah! He personifies the connection of the Jewish people with H'. This is why he is given the Malchut, the leadership, because his allegiance is first to H' and His people,whereas Yosef Hatzadik is more intertwined with the world and its material aspects. Yehudah represents leadership, courage and the ultimate Emunah and Bitachon in H'!

Batya said...