“And it was at that time, and Judah went down from his brothers.” (From this week’s Torah portion, Vayeishev, Genesis 38:1)
This verse opens the entire story of Judah and Tamar, which took place after Joseph was sold to Egypt by his brothers. Our Sages in Breishit Rabbah have an interesting perspective on the events described in these verses:
“The tribes were preoccupied with the selling of Joseph, Joseph was preoccupied with his sackcloth and fasting, Reuven was preoccupied with his sackcloth and fasting, and Jacob was preoccupied with his sackcloth and fasting and Judah was preoccupied with taking a wife and the Holy One, Blessed Be He was busy creating the light of Mashiach.”
Everyone was preoccupied: Drowning in the swamp of their errors, mourning, trying to extricate themselves and not knowing how. The general mood was low; sadness and ambitions prevailed. The brothers did not overcome their jealousy and competitiveness and sold Joseph. Reuven was busy with his ambitions, Judah – busy with his. It looked like the forces of the mundane were poised to overcome the young family of Israel and drag it into the abyss of submission, despair and mourning.
Behind the scenes, though, the King of the World was there, fulfilling His promise to Israel. From amidst all the complications He created the light of Mashiach. Peretz is born to Judah and Tamar. He will become the progenitor of King David and Mashiach, the son of David, in the future.
Sometimes, the truly significant events take place behind the scenes. The challenge is to identify those portentous times and not to miss the truly consequential developments amidst the constant barrage of distractions.
Today, everyone is preoccupied with the complicated situation in Israel. Israel will retreat as a ‘good will gesture’ to the Arabs, Israel will not do so – it is completely insignificant. Since the days of the Rabin government – and actually, even prior to that – the strategy of Israel’s successive governments has been to choke off the settlements as a prelude to their abandonment. A state that is not Jewish in its essence is incapable of holding onto the Land of Israel. Eventually, it loses the legitimacy for its very existence.
Let us progress to a truly Jewish State.
Let us create the light of Mashiach. Chanukah Sameach, Shabbat Shalom.