top of page

Vayigash 5783

December 18, 2022

Rabbi Geier


BS"D || Rabbi Geier

Vayigash 5782

Sinat achim. Hate between brothers. The word hate is something strong. But when two or more siblings stop talking to each other, so it is, too.

This week's parashah shows us THE change in family ties. It shows us how after the breaking of the fraternal ties between Yosef and his brothers, it is Yehudah who shows a total dedication by offering himself to replace his younger brother, Binyamin, in the face of a deception armed by Yosef that makes him stay in Egypt. as a hostage.

Yehudah changes the paradigm that the brothers of the biblical story maintained. That of division, that of discord, that of deception and even worse. Each pair of siblings, up to this moment, let out their crudest personality, regardless of the consequences on the other. In the case of Yaakov's sons, they did it as a group.

Something begins to change. It is glimpsed that there is a will to begin to relegate each one to himself in pursuit of caring for the other: Yehudah with Binyamin and with his father Yaakov. Yosef with his brothers, leaving aside all the anger and pain that the history lived with them could cause him. It is the first time that brothers play for their brothers. In Yehudah's case, he puts his own life at risk, for his younger brother. Unpublished.

Interestingly, Binyamin and Yehudah are the two tribes, descendants of those same two brothers, who survive the dispersion and remain as solid axes of the People of Israel. Base on that love and personal renunciation that strongly ties the bonds.

Yehudah resigns, but if we go a little further in the story, the one who resigns the most may be Yosef. That is probably why he is called Yosef haTtzadik. Not because he has been fair in his performance as the Pharaoh's administrator. Not because it has been successful and has enriched their coffers. Not even because he has welcomed into his new home his brothers who had betrayed him. What gave him that condition was probably that internal power to renounce his own anguish and miseries, understanding that it was the only way to rebuild.

The message is clear. If there is a will to build, yes or yes it is necessary for egos to step aside. If the construction is joint, there is no way for each one to think of himself. If each one maintains his own convictions, offenses, pains, differences, claims, positions ... we will not be able to do anything jointly.

Yehudah succeeded and maintained a bond that maintained the people to this day.

Yosef succeeded, and rebuilt a family that was plunging into division and dissolution.

This week we will commemorate and fast on Tevet 10, the date that marks the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, and the beginning of the battle that finally destroyed Solomon's Temple and sent the Jews into Exile from Babylon, which lasted 70 years. And let us remember that precisely the main cause of this destruction was hatred between brothers.

The 10th of Tevet is considered such a severe and important fast day that it is observed even if it falls on Friday (erev Shabbat), while the other fast days are organized by calendar adjustments so that they never fall on Friday, to not interfere with Shabbat preparations.

There is a change to be achieved. We must learn from our own history and, whether we fast or not, understand that sinat achim is leading nowhere. That change and the acceptance of differences in our families, in our Communities and in our People, are possible.

Surely we can rethink how to do it—so that what divides us can be put aside and be able to change the present for a better, more solid future, with more content and more commitment to our fellow man and our environment.

bottom of page