Please enable JavaScript in your browser to experience all the custom features of our site.

RabbiHorowitz.com
Please Use Our New Website
still under constructions
to purchase safety books and educational materials
https://thebrightbeginnings.com

Mr. Harry Skydell, Chairman
Mr. Mark Karasick, Vice Chairman
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Director
Rabbi Avrohom M. Gluck, Director of Operations
The first 1000 members will have a chance to win a
16 GB
iPod
touch
with Rabbi Horowitz audio

Membership Benefits:

  • Save articles to your favorites folder.
  • Save and print selected articles in a PDF journal.
  • Receive emails containing the latest comments on your favorite articles.
  • Mark articles as "READ".
  • More member features coming soon...

Raffle Rules:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, complete the signup form and join as a member. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries shall become the property of CJFL. CJFL is not responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed entries.

The contest is open to the general public. Members need to be at least 18 years old. Identification must be produced on request. Employees of CJFL, its raffle sponsor, advertising and promotional agencies and their respective affiliates and associates and such employees' immediate family members and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are excluded from this raffle. ALL PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED MEMBERS WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THIS RAFFLE. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Decisions of the raffle judges are final - no substitutions will be available. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness (first initial and last name) and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the internet and picture date storage) which CJFL may deem appropriate. In accepting the prize, the winner, acknowledges that CJFL may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with accepting or using this prize. CJFL retains the rights, in its absolute and sole discretion, to make substitutions of equivalent kind or approximate value in the event of the unavailability of any prize or component of the prize for any reason whatsoever. This contest is subject to all federal, provincial and municipal laws. CJFL reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this raffle at any time without prior notice. One entry per person.


Parshas Vayigash 5765
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

Not Rated Yet   |   Viewed 3129 times since 12/19/06   |   0 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend
   

12/19/06

A Torah Thought for Teens – Parshas Vayigash

By: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

From the moment that his 10 brothers came to Mitzrayim, Yosef pretended that he did not recognize them. He accused his brothers of spying; he imprisoned Shimon, and later Binyomin. Finally, in this week’s parsha, Yosef could no longer contain himself and maintain this pretense (Bereshis 45:1). At this point, he asked all Egyptians to leave the room, and softly revealed himself to his brothers. Their initial reaction was fear that Yosef would harm them [and, according to Rashi, shame for having treated him so poorly when he was at their mercy]. Only later, when he comforted them, spoke to them in Hebrew, and assured them that he will not bear any grudges to them, did they begin to relax in his company.

The words that Yosef used when revealing himself to his brothers are quite puzzling. His opening remark, informing them of his identity, “Ani Yosef; I am Yosef,” (Bereshis 45:3) is entirely proper. The end of that phrase, “Ha’od avi chai; is my father still alive?” – seems to be inappropriate. Why would Yosef pick that particular moment to ask about the welfare of his father? What makes this more surprising is the fact that Yosef had already inquired about the health of his father the moment that his brothers arrived in Egypt the second time (Bereshis 43:27). Why did he feel the need to repeat this question?

The Midrash on this pasuk compares Yosef’s dramatic revelation to his brothers to the moment of truth that we will face when we will encounter Hashem after our 120-year journey in this world. “Oy lanu m’yom ha’din, oy lanu m’yom hatochaicha; Woe is to us on the Judgment Day; on the day of rebuke [for our actions on this world]”. The 10 older brothers of Yosef, continues the Midrash, were rendered speechless due to the deep rebuke administered by Yosef. How much more so will we be silenced when we are confronted by our deeds by Hashem Himself?

The Bais Halevi questions why the Midrash invokes the word tochacha, rebuke, when describing Yosef’s revelation to his brothers. He did not rebuke them; he simply informed them that he was Yosef and asked if his father was still alive. What does this have to do with the Day of Judgment? Where was the tochacha?

The Beis Halevi explains that effective tochacha, criticism, can be administered on two distinctly different planes. The more simple level is when one is questioned why he or she did not follow the Torah’s norms of moral conduct.

  • Why were you insensitive to the feelings of your classmates in the playground?
  • Why did you neglect to call your parents on Friday afternoon when you were away at summer camp?
  • Why did you not dedicate some of your discretionary spending money to charity?

The second, more reflective level occurs when one is required to confront his or her actions, and compare them to their misdeeds.

  • You remember what it felt like to be shamed in front of your peers on the soccer field; why then, did you inflict this discomfort on your friend several days later?
  • You took the time to call four of your friends on Friday afternoon; why could you not find the time to phone your parents as well?
  • You spent $100 on a non-essential item; why did you not set aside money for those less fortunate among us?

This second level of criticism is more personalized. These are not generic questions, but are individual in nature, as they force upon us a level of introspection that we may wish to avoid.

The Bais Halevi explains that Yosef’s initial words to his brothers, while delivered softly, contained a stinging rebuke of their words – and actions – that left them speechless. During the past two visits to Egypt, they kept invoking the image of their elderly father. As they pleaded with Yosef to release Binyomin, they begged him to consider the pain that the imprisonment of Binyamin would have on Yaakov.

At that moment, Yosef could no longer contain himself; “v’lo yachol Yosef l’hisapek” (Bereshis 45:1). He was offended that they were using the imagery of their father’s suffering when it benefited their cause. “Ani Yosef, I am your brother Yosef [the one who was left for dead in the pit 22 years ago]. Ha’od avi chai; is my father still alive [from all the pain that YOU caused him]?” This was not a casual question about the welfare of their father. It was highest level of rebuke, explains the Bais Halevi. The 10 shavatim were being challenged by their younger brother to reflect upon their actions, and the agony that they had caused their father. The Midrash comments that it is this more elevated level of tochacha that we will all face in the Beis Din Shel Ma’aloh (The Heavenly Court).

May the words of the midrash and the powerful messages they convey inspire us to lead meaningful and spiritual lives.

Best wishes for a gutten Shabbos.

© 2004 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved



To sign up for Rabbi Horowitz’s weekly emails, please click here.


Reader's Comments:      Rating & Comments Policy      Rate & Write a Comment!
 Average Rating:       Not Rated Yet
Subscribe to this Article
(by subscribing you will receive email notification
when new comments are posted)
There are no comments yet. Click above to write the first comment.
Dear Readers:

Please visit our Parenting Resource listing to learn about agencies and services that you can make use of. If you know of an agency that can be of assistance to others, kindly drop an email to our site administrator at admin@RabbiHorowitz.com and pass along the information to him.

I ask that you please consider supporting the work we are doing to improve the lives of our children. Click on these links to learn more about our teen and parent mentoring program that serves hundreds of teens and their families, or our KESHER program, now in 20 schools in 4 states. Your financial support can allow us to expand these services and help more children.

If you believe in the governing principles of this website – to help effect positive change through the candid discussions of the real issues we collectively face, please consider becoming a daily, weekly or monthly sponsor of this website and help defray the costs of it’s maintenance.



Working with Families and Educators on Behalf of our Children

This site is managed by The Center for Jewish Family Life, Inc., 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952
Project Y.E.S. was founded by Agudath Israel of America
The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES - 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952 (845) 352-7100 ext. 114 Fax: (845) 352-9593
email: email@kosherjewishparenting.com


Advertisements