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January 1, 2017 / conservadox

Dvar Torah- Vayigash

In this week’s portion, Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers, who then settle in Egypt.  Along the way, Joseph “fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck and cried, and Benjamin cried on his neck.” (Gen. 45: 14).

What’s up with all the crying?  Miller cites a legend discussed by Rashi, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s interpretation of that legend.

Rashi wrote that Joseph was weeping for the Temples that were destroyed thousands of years later on Benjamin’s territory, while Benjamin was weeping for the Tabernacle at Shiloh, which was destroyed on Joseph’s territory almost as many years in the future.

Literally, this seems like another silly midrash.  The Rebbe tries to make sense of it, pointing out that that they were weeping onlyh over each other’s misfortune rather than their own.  Why? “Eliminating other people’s problems ultimately depends on the other person’s own free will… the person himself must take the necessary action.”  In other words, only you (if anyone) can solve your own problems, while you can only be sympathetic to other people’s problems.  This is a fine example of how to take a useful real-life lesson from a fanciful midrash.


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