Friday, December 21, 2012

All in the Family

By Moshe Feiglin

And Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph, does my father still live?" And the brothers could not answer him because they were afraid of him. (From this week's Torah portion, Vayigash, Genesis 45:3)

When Joseph asks if his father is still alive, he is obviously not seeking information. His brothers have mentioned their father numerous times and he knows that he is alive. When Joseph asks if his father is alive, he is asking if his family still lives. Is the message heralded by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – the message of perfection of the world under G-d's kingdom that will be brought to the world by the Nation of Israel – is that message still alive within the family, or is it only my role to keep that spark alive?

The dreams of Joseph's youth were not just meaningless distractions. His father took them to heart. When the brothers threw Joseph into the pit, it was clear that they were no longer brothers and that the family unit had been sundered. And when Joseph rose to greatness in Egypt, he could easily have concluded that he was the sole bearer of the message of his forefathers.

This explains why Joseph did not send messengers to inform his father that he was alive immediately upon attaining his lofty status. Joseph understood that he had to complete the realization of his dream and to bring his father and all his brothers to Egypt. He understood that the next stage in the history of the future Jewish Nation would unfold in the Land of the Nile. He also understood that his family remained united to herald the message of the Forefathers – forever.

Since the Six Day War, Israel has been trying to solve its identity crisis through its neighbors. "We will make peace and then everything will work out here." But more and more, the realization that the solution to the challenges facing us must come from within our family and within our Land is becoming crystal clear.

Shabbat Shalom

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