One of the most difficult issues in both
is Yosef's treatment of his brothers upon their arrival in
states: “And Yosef recognized his brothers, and they did not recognize him” (
42:8). Certainly a man of Yosef's character and integrity should have let the brothers know immediately who he was, especially since he saw Hashem's hand in everything that had happened to him since he left
. He should have at least revealed his true identity to let his father know he was still alive. Indeed his whole course of action, which borders on harassment of his brothers, is truly perplexing.Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, the great 19th Century German rabbi, explains the issue beautifully as follows: had Yosef wanted to only remain the viceroy of Egypt without a relationship to his family, he would have simply revealed his identity to the brothers and said, so to speak, "I told you so. Look, I am now the ruler to whom you are bowing." However, that was certainly not Yosef's goal. His real purpose was to reconnect with his family in true love and friendship. In order to do this he had to a) change his own opinion of his brothers and b) make sure that the brothers changed their opinion of him. Otherwise, even if he was
reunited with his family, the rekindled relationship would be worthless because of the previous dissensions. Only if Yosef was convinced that the brothers had a complete change of heart could the situation be rectified. Therefore, he felt it necessary to test the brothers and see if they would again be capable of depriving their father of a son. Only if they passed this test could he be assured of the change in them and thus erase his negative feelings towards them. Perhaps even more importantly, if the earlier tension between Yosef and his brothers was caused by intense envy, how much more would they have to fear him now since he was the viceroy. Indeed because of what they had done to him, he would have every reason to hate them and take revenge.In order to prove to them his true benevolent character, Yosef had to appear to them in his position of power. They had to realize that he
do with them whatever he pleased. If, nevertheless, he would be kind to them and repay their evil with good, he could hope to change their previous, erroneous assessment of him. When he would finally reveal himself as Yosef, their brother, they could then erase the past and forgive bygones. Only thus could Yosef truly be restored as a brother and son to Ya’akov and his family.Rabbi Hirsch further suggests, that it it is precisely because of this that Yosef did not tell his father of his existence earlier. What good would it have done to restore Yosef as a son, if all the brothers continued to hate, envy, and fear him? Thus we see the true wisdom of Yosef who, through all his machinations, restored the love and brotherhood of his whole family, which would ultimately lead to the great satisfaction of Ya’akov Avinu as well.
A publication of
Boys High School
The first Bracha made on Shabbat, the holiest day of the week, is the Bracha of Hadlakat Neirot, the blessing a woman recites when lighting Shabbat candles.
The Mitzvah of lighting candles is filled with richness and deep meaning.
Rabbi Twersky explains this very meaningful Mitzvah beautifully, “Light cannot be confined…if you make a light for yourself others can benefit from it as well.
If you make the light for others, you, too, can benefit from it.
Light is therefore a symbol of mutuality and togetherness.” By Davening we create a light that illuminates the world and helps the Jewish people as a whole; simultaneously, we have the opportunity to build our own personal relationship with Ha’Kadosh Baruch Hu.
It is very important for us to realize the impact that our Tefillot have in Shamayim, the ethereal heavens, and the benefit they provide for K’lal Yisroel, the Jewish people. The power that Tefillah holds is immeasurable, and we must therefore not waste the special opportunity that it presents. It is time for us to kindle our inner light.
Inside the Head of a
Rabbi Eliyahu Stewart