Parsha Vayigash 5768: Elusive Jewish Unity and The Boiled Lobster


By Moshe Burt

Parsha Mikeitz records the whole affair between Yosef and the brothers when they came to Mitzrayim to buy food and were accused by the Viceroy of being spies. We learned how after hearing their story and family history, Yosef demanded that they bring their youngest brother to him and incarcerated Shimon as insurance that the brothers would indeed return with Binyamin, their youngest brother. We learn that in the middle of Parsha Mikeitz, with the imprisonment of Shimon, the brothers recognized and attributed their predicament to the sin they had committed earlier by throwing Yosef into the pit and then selling him to the Mitzriyim. Yosef heard and understood their conversation and left their presence to cry silently. (Perek 42, posukim 21-24)

Then, we learn how when Binyamin was finally brought to Yosef, the brothers were provided with food and it was made to appear as if Binyamin had stolen the Viceroy’s silver goblet. The Viceroy detained Binyamin under charges that he had stolen the goblet and released the other brothers to return to their father.

Our Parsha Vayigash begins with Yehuda speaking his appeal to the Viceroy on behalf of his father Yaakov regarding Binyamin’s imprisonment.

Upon hearing Yehuda’s plea regarding the special love affection which Yaakov had for Binyamin, Yosef could no longer restrain himself and revealed himself as he cried out so loudly that he was heard by Pharoh.

The brothers had shown Yosef that they had recognized their aveirah, done teshuvah and were unified in their concern for Binyamin’s welfare. Yosef embraced his brothers and comforted them and “told them not to be sad that they had sold him, for Hashem had actually sent him here to keep them alive during the years of famine.’ (L’lMod Ulamed, Parsha Vayigash, page 57).

This unity was crucial for the future travails of enslavement in Mitzrayim as the Jewish nation was forged.

But, in our time, this unity is lacking amongst B’nai Yisrael. And many among us do not and appear as if they will not see the sin of their ways even as the consequences become ever clearer; bogus ceasefires, continued rocket blitzes, mortars and stonings, releasing of funds and rearming of terrorists, releasing hundreds of murderous terrorists to attack more Jews, recklessly endangering Jewish lives by lifting of Roadblocks in Yehuda and the Shomron and more.

All the while, the modern-day hellenists continue their drive toward convergence; nothing less than the eradication of all vestiges and expressions of Jewishness. The vast majority of those who should know better seem unprepared to put their individual lives on hold and collectively act with unity, as one, to do everything necessary to confront the evil.

We haven’t learned the brother’s lesson yet.

And further, the protexia-class hellenists have learned more than we have — they know our weaknesses intimately and they how to divide and conquer us by our machlokesim — each set against the other.

When the brothers returned to Yaakov, there is a midrash which indicates that they were worried about how to break the news of Yosef to him, that the shock of the news might endanger Yaakov’s life. And so, they sent Asher’s daughter Serach, with her great spirituality and her special harp playing talent, to gently sing a melody to Yaakov; “My uncle Yosef is still alive; he is ruler over Egypt.” (The Midrash Says, Sefer Breish’t, page 426)

And from this can be learned a rule of human nature regarding breaking of important news, the old adage; “Break it to me gently.”

And so, we’ve watched the evolution of events over the last 13 years; Oslo, Oslo2, Wye, leaving South Lebanon to Hezbollah, “Roadmaps”, the Expulsion from Gush Katif and the 4 Shomron Towns, the kidnapping of Jewish soldiers and lack of efforts to rescue them, the two front war of this summer in Gaza and in Lebanon, the so-called “ceasefire” in Lebanon and it’s bogus UN UNIFIL “peacekeepers”, the bogus “ceasefire” in Gaza, the High Court’s continued demolition of the other branches of government, Olmert’s continuing attempts to bring about “Convergence”, the blatant and gross humiliation of Annapolis and much much more. Every intelligent person knows about the above, that the past at least 14 years has seriously damaged Israel on ALL levels. There are no links necessary!

And so, we can look back and surmise that had all of the implications and all that has happened in the past 14 or so years been known to, derived or anticipated by the people when Oslo was first hatched, the Jews would not have stood for it. And so, we were left with the soft refrain when Rabin signed Oslo, “If they’re bad boys, we’ll just go and take it back.”

They were bad boys and the government of Israel did nothing except concede more and more and more. And so I harken back to the lesson of how to boil a frog, or a lobster; gradually, a little at a time, allowing it to re-acclimate each time before the final time when the heat is turned on full and the frog or lobster dies.

May we be zocha in this coming year that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard and the 3 captive Chayalim and the other MIAs be liberated and returned to us and that we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!

Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of the Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.


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