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Published by: outdash2 on Dec 05, 2013
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Parshas Vayigash
 Ani Yosef, ha’od Avi chai 
This week’s
 begins with Yehuda approaching the Prime Minister of Mitzrayim
to plead with him to return Binyomin. This Prime Minister happens to be Yosef Hatzadik but Yehuda does not know that. !nd Yehuda says to the Prime Minister "Please you must gi#e us back Binyomin. $e ha#e an old father at home and he lo#es this young boy. !nd if this young boy is not returned this old father might die of anguish.% This is the gist of Yehuda’
 presentation to Yosef. Then the Torah records that Yosef can not hold back anymore and he finally re#eals his identity to his brothers. Yosef says "
 Ani Yosef, Ha’od Avi Chai
&%' () am Yosef is my father still ali#e&’ *b#iously this opening +uestion of Yosef is difficult. How could Yosef possibly ask whether Yaako# is ali#e& He knows that Yaako# is ali#e. That was the whole point of Yehuda’s speech, that if Binyomin was not returned then the old father at home Yaako# might die. Hasn’t Yosef been listening to Yehuda’s
whole speech&- How could he ask this +uestion&There are se#eral approaches to answer this +uestion. The simplest answer is that of the li Yakar and others. The li Yakar writes that Yosef was concerned that maybe Yehuda was
Yosef was concerned that maybe Yaako# had actually died a long time ago and maybe Yehuda was trying to con#ince the Prime Minister to gi#e back Binyomin. Yosef thought that maybe Yehuda falsely claimed that Yaako# was still ali#e in order to seek mercy from the Prime Minister so that he would return Binyomin to Yehuda. !ccording to this approach Yosef was saying ") am Yosef is my father
ali#e&% That is one good
.There is also another
 gi#en by the Beis Hale#i. The Beis Hale#i
first presents another +uestion. He +uotes a
 which compares the brothers’ reaction to Yosef to the reaction of the
 to Hashem on the
. /ust like the brothers could not respond to Yosef  because they were so stunned by his comments so too a person will ha#e a hard time answering Hashem on the
. The Beis Hale#i asks what e0actly is the connection between what Yosef says to his brothers and the
& !pparently this
is assuming Yosef was gi#ing his brothers
' rebuke. !nd this rebuke is somehow similar to the rebuke from Hashem on the
 yom hadin
. 1o the Beis Hale#i wonders where e0actly is the rebuke& $here is this
 hinted to in the
& !ll Yosef did was ask a straightforward +uestion-
The Beis Hale#i e0plains that the two +uestions answer each other as follows. Yosef 
knew that Yaako# was still ali#e. He had heard and belie#ed Yehuda’s
speech. Yosef was not asking a +uestion in order to gain knowledge from Yehuda’s response. 2ather Yosef was asking a
 +uestion and this rhetorical +uestion contained tremendous
 and rebuke for Yehuda and the brothers.
The Beis Hale#i continues to e0plain that Yosef was pointing out an inconsistency in the words and actions of his brothers. Yosef was in essence saying to Yehuda
as follows, Yehuda
 you are so concerned about the welfare of our father that if Binyomin is not returned he might die from the anguish. $hy& Because Binyomin is the most belo#ed son. Yehuda e#erything that you said about Yaako# and Binyomin applied e0actly the same way concerning our father and
 33 years ago. ) was the most fa#ored son4 ) was the son of his most belo#ed wife. )f you are so concerned about the welfare of our father then where were you 33 years ago Yehuda&&Yosef was in essence saying to Yehuda,
 Ha'od abvi chai?
)s it possible that our father is still ali#e after what you did to me 33 years ago Yehuda& This is the message that Yosef was saying to Yehuda. Yosef was gi#ing him tremendous
 and he had no response. Yehuda could not answer because Yosef was using Yehuda’s
 words and actions against him. This is the most difficult rebuke that a person can recei#e. There is no answer. The Beis Hale#i e0plains the connection of Yosef’s +uestion to the
. *n the
the most difficult claim that Hashem will make which a person will ha#e difficult responding to is the claim of hypocrisy the claim of inconsistency. The Beis Hale#i
offers the following e0ample. ! person comes up to
 and Hashem says ") noticed that you did not gi#e #ery much
 in your lifetime.%!nd the person responds ") had a large family and a lot of bills to pay ) did not ha#e enough money to gi#e
.% Hashem responds

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