Saturday, January 7, 2017

More Thoughts About "Vayigash," Torah Portion of the Week

It's not that I write about the Parshat Shavua, Torah Portion of the Week every week, so it's a bit unusual that not only did I write before Shabbat, Judah's Eternal Message: Don't Cower! Torah Portion of the Week, but now I'm writing about another aspect of Vayigash.

Torah Tidbits OU

As I read the OU's Torah Tidbits and then the entire text of Vayigash, I became more and more annoyed at Joseph's words and behavior.
Genesis Chapter 45:8And now, you did not send me here, but God, and He made me a father to Pharaoh, a lord over all his household, and a ruler over the entire land of Egypt.
חוְעַתָּ֗ה לֹֽא־אַתֶּ֞ם שְׁלַחְתֶּ֤ם אֹתִי֙ הֵ֔נָּה כִּ֖י הָֽאֱלֹהִ֑ים וַיְשִׂימֵ֨נִי לְאָ֜ב לְפַרְעֹ֗ה וּלְאָדוֹן֙ לְכָל־בֵּית֔וֹ וּמשֵׁ֖ל בְּכָל־אֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם:
9Hasten and go up to my father, and say to him, 'So said your son, Joseph: "God has made me a lord over all the Egyptians. Come down to me, do not tarry.
טמַֽהֲרוּ֘ וַֽעֲל֣וּ אֶל־אָבִי֒ וַֽאֲמַרְתֶּ֣ם אֵלָ֗יו כֹּ֤ה אָמַר֙ בִּנְךָ֣ יוֹסֵ֔ף שָׂמַ֧נִי אֱלֹהִ֛ים לְאָד֖וֹן לְכָל־מִצְרָ֑יִם רְדָ֥ה אֵלַ֖י אַל־תַּֽעֲמֹֽד:
I kept comparing it to the Yehuda-David line of leaders who took responsibility, apologized, did Teshuva, repented. At no point, not in these lines, nor later does Joseph ever admit that his behavior and attitude towards his brothers may have played a large part in their putting him in the pit and their selling him to the traders. He's still bragging by instructing his brothers to tell their father about his great position in Egypt. And does he ever apologize for the awful practical jokes, the tricks he played on them by returning their money and putting his after through even more worry and pain by imprisoning Simon and demanding Benjamin? No, he doesn't.

Joesph just gives this ladidah self-centered response that "it's all Gd's will" and his success is proof of it.

At our Shabbat women's shiur I connected this contrast of Judah and Joseph with the David-Saul (Leah-Rachel) differences in personality, character and leadership. We can see that David inherited so much innate leadership and charisma from Judah. Maybe Leah's "soft eyes" were from her sensitivity to other people's problems. It's impossible to imagine Judah or David playing such hurtful tricks on others as Joseph did, or trying to kill a potential rival the way King Saul persecuted David.

May we be blessed in having a true leader of the Davidic Line, speedily in our days...

Shavua Tov
and Tzom Kal to those fasting on the 10th of Tevet

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