Parshat Vayigash – Confronting Ourselves

8 12 2010

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Hanoch Teller

When Yosef imprisons Binyamin, Yehuda attempts to arouse the compassion of Yosef by depicting the unbearable pain their father would experience upon hearing the news. Yosef then reveals himself by declaring, “I am Yosef. Is my father still alive?” The verse reads, “His brothers could not answer him because they were disconcerted.” Why did Yosef ask if his father was still alive if Yehuda had just spoken of him? The Midrash says, “Woe to creation on the day of judgment. Woe to creation on the day of admonishment.”

The Bait Halevi explains that there are two distinct days, the Day of Judgment and the Day of Admonishment. When the soul reaches the world to come after 120 years, he will be shown a film of his life split in two screens. One screen will ask him why he did
not give charity. The soul will answer he did not have any money. The other screen will show him buying a fancy chandelier and flying away on an expensive vacation. The soul will be pitted against itself. You may be able to answer anything in the world but you
cannot justify your own self. This is what happened with the brothers. They attempted to arouse Yosef’s mercy out of concern for their father but when Yosef confronted them they had nothing to say. They realized the magnitude of their misdeed and how they
had hurt their father with the sale of Yosef. It was a moment of truth. Our moment of truth awaits us too. Let us be sure to repent
before it is too late.

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