Torah Tidbits

24 April 2014 / 24 Nisan 5774
Issue 1024
Shabbat Parshat Vayeishev
December 06, 2012

Chizuk and Idud

CHIZUK and IDUD for Olim not yet Olim respectively

The most dramatic moment of the parsha is when Yaakov recognizes the torn, bloodied tunic of his son Yosef, and concludes that he was killed by wild animals. He spends the next 22 years in a constant state of mourning. According to the Netziv, during this time he literally did not stop crying.
Why didn’t anyone tell Yaakov the truth about Yosef and put him out of his misery? The brothers might not have said anything because they’d look bad, but what about Yitzchak? Rashi explains that Yitzchak reasoned that if Hashem hadn’t told Yaakov what really happened to Yosef, who was he to do so?
The Siftei Chachamim takes it a step further, explaining why it was crucial that Yaakov be kept in the dark. He says that had Yaakov known the truth, he would have paid any price to redeem Yosef and bring him back home, and therefore would never have gone down to Egypt - which was necessary to fulfill the terms stated in the Brit Ben HaBetarim for ultimately receiving Eretz Yisrael.
The entire exercise, including the pain Yaakov endured for 22 years, was to set the stage for, “Your offspring will be strangers in a land not their own, and they [the foreign powers] will enslave and oppress them four hundred years.”
Yaakov had to come down to Egypt together with what was then the entire Jewish people to experience slavery and oppression so that future generations could merit receiving Eretz Yisrael.
At the end of last week’s parsha, when Eisav leaves Eretz Yisrael, Rashi brings a midrash explaining that he left because he understood the price of admission - slavery in a foreign land - and wasn’t willing to pay it.
Yaakov Avinu, in his 22 years of profound mourning, and our ancestors in Egypt paid the price in full.  It’s up to us to recognize how steep the price was and appreciate how precious Eretz Yisrael is to Am Yisrael and, most importantly, act accordingly.

Joel Rebibo, Beit El

TORAH THOUGHTS as contributed by Aloh Naaleh members for publication in the Orthodox Union’s ‘Torah Insights’, a weekly Torah publication on Parshat HaShavu’a

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