Thursday, December 17, 2015
Vayigash (and he drew near)
In this parash we’re going to see “forgiveness” play a big role and changing most of the misfortunes of Jacob and his family. The act of forgiveness will be demonstrated in the dramatic scene of Joseph reveling himself to his brothers. This will allow Jacob’s soul to be revived and lead to the prosperity of the Jewish people in the land of Egypt. But forgiveness can only come from someone acknowledging a wrong doing and allowing God to change a bad circumstance into a glorious type of redemption for all who are involved. Most of the events of Israel’s patriarchs seem to be foreshadows of what will happen to the nation of Israel as a whole, to even demonstrate the role of Messiah in similar key events.
Last week’s portion is the backgrounds of Joseph acting in a duplicitous way, having the brothers endure some trials that entrap them to set the stage to this dramatic turn of events. It’s in the first reading (Gen 44:18-30) we see Judah began to plead for Benjamin’s freedom, explaining that his father deeply loved the boy and that returning to Canaan without him would surely be the cause of his father’s death. By Judah’s willingness to remain in Egypt as Joseph’s slave in the place of Benjamin clearly demonstrates the selflessness act (mesirat nefesh in Hebrew) of a repented person. The speech of Judah appealing for his young brother is what changes the tide in ending a long rift of strife within the family. This speech isn’t a flamboyant expression on the part of Judah, but a true expression of his heart, that doesn’t want to repeat the mischief that they did to another beloved son of Jacob. Joseph finally gets irrefutable proof of his brother’s new attitude and their sincere contrition for the crime that was committed to against him. Reconciliation is the conclusion to the act of forgiveness; this picture is seen within our own lives that are accomplished through the great redemption of Messiah Ben Yosef.