Are you a Brother? – Parshat Vayigash
Family feuds are common. People have been disagreeing for years about issues pertaining to anything and everything. We hear stories and wonder how such silly disputes turn into such nasty fights. Siblings end up not talking to each other for years and sometimes they can’t even remember the reasons for their squabble. How are we meant to behave towards family members when there is a valid excuse for our differences, hurt or anger?
In this week’s Torah portion we read of the reunion between Joseph and his brothers. We read how Joseph finally lets his brothers know that he, the second in command in Egypt, is the brother they sold some twenty years earlier to a passing Gypsy caravan in the desert. As expected, the brothers are full of fear; what kind of grudge does their brother hold and how will he use his power to exact revenge?
Joseph is well aware that his brothers are expecting the worst, and for good reason. However instead of flexing his power, Joseph says perhaps the most courageous words in the portion. He says “don’t worry and fear not, for G-d has sent me here in order to be able to provide food for you during these years of famine”, and then he proceeds to invite them to come live with him. He stands tall and tells his brothers not to worry, there is a bigger plan and everything happens for a reason. No grudges and no revenge just pure brotherly love.
Perhaps the definition of family is that we are able to rise above the situation and realize that there is a deeper bond which ultimately will keep us connected forever. No matter how grave the circumstance and now matter how valid the reason, we have it within us recognize our absolute and unconditional link. Understanding this will give us the ability to respond like Joseph and forever value our family.
Rabbi Mendy Hecht